In Southern California, we’re fortunate enough to have regular access to Russ Parsons, The California Cook of the Los Angeles Times. Because that’s not enough, we also keep his “How to Pick a Peach” on our bookshelves.
Russ taught me how to pick a peach.
We’ve all been there. We “buy a peach at the market and take it home, the whole time anticipating the moment when we lean over the sink and bite into it. But when that moment comes, we wind up not with a gush of nectar but with a mouthful of meal.”
So what went wrong?
According to Russ, lots of things. On pp. 116 – 117 is a small snippet. After picking:
The cooling stage is critical. At harvest the internal temperature of nectarines can be in the 90s. If left unattended, they would spoil in less than a day. The ideal storage temperature for peaches and nectarines is right at freezing – 32 degrees (because they contain so much sugar, peaches don’t freeze until they get between 27 and 30 degrees). Much warmer than that, and the fruit enters the perilous “chilling injury” zone – roughly 35 to 45 degrees. The reasons behind the harmful effects of cold storage within this temperature range have not been fully explained, but the symptoms are well known: a cottony, dry texture and an absence of flavor. As little as a day spent at these temperatures can be enough to ruin a piece of fruit.
…the full discussion goes from p. 113 to p. 124. And if you’re geeky like I am, borrow a copy from your local library and give it a go.
Long story short, a good peach has been delicately cared for and looked after. So for me, it’s tough to do anything with it beyond slicing it open and eating it raw (which we’ve been doing all summer).
But since I’m a crumble freak (and the RGB needs a summer dessert recipe), I thought I’d try a summer peach crumble. My two recipe sources: Heidi and Allison. Like Heidi, I wanted to keep the sugar down to maintain the integrity of the natural sweetness in the peaches. But instead of using yogurt (didn’t have any), I went with a classic butter (like Allison) and oats combo.
Sublime with a scoop or two of vanilla bean ice cream.
Other summer peach crumbles:
Who taught you how to pick a peach?
Summer Peach Crumble
~ Makes 8 servings ~
~ Ingredients ~
- 5 peaches
- 1 ½ tablespoon arrowroot
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup all-purposed flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
- Pinch kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
~ Preparation ~
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
- Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Slices peaches in half; remove seed and dice into even chunks. Place in large 3-quart bowl and toss with arrowroot and granulated sugar. Pour mixture into 10” round baking dish.
- Prepare crumble: In a 1-quart bowl rolled oats, add all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, Saigon cinnamon and kosher salt. Stir with whisk to combine. Dice cold unsalted butter into small pieces, then crumble into oat mixture by hand.
- Top peaches with dry mixture, then bake in center rack for 20-25 minutes.
Nutrition content per serving: 240 calories, 38g carbs, 2.5g protein, 8.5g fat, 2g fiber
Cost per serving: $0.83
Source: Rustic Garden Bistro