This recipe and photography were provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com.
If you grew up in the south, you probably have memories of ripe peaches with the warm juice drizzling down your chin. We kids had to eat them outside because they were so messy you’d have to change your shirt. My dad was crazy about them and waited impatiently for the sight of peaches, sitting on the windowsill, ripening in the early summer light. Peaches are magical. We even call a person who is sweet, nice or appealing a peach. Peaches have been immortalized in art. Much like life, a peach is both sweet and sour, soft and hard, smooth and fuzzy. It’s delicious, but you’re going to get messy eating it, and its season passes quickly. Yes, I think we have a passion for peaches and in the summer. We simply can’t get enough of them.
Where are Peaches Grown?
In the U.S., peaches are grown commercially in 20 states, the top four being, California, South Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey. Peaches are in season from June to September and need hot, dry days and cool nights to develop their sugary sweetness. So far, the peach season in 2020 looks as perfect as a Georgia peach, so you should plan on eating some perfect fruit.
The Health Benefits of Peaches
Peaches are not only delicious but a good source of vitamin C. They also contain vitamin A, which promotes eye health. Did you know that peaches are a source of dietary fiber with 3 grams of fiber in one large peach? That’s not bad for dessert.
How to Pick the Perfect Peach
When grocery shopping, look for peaches with a dark yellow color with red spots or bright, vibrant hues. White peaches will have a little white color as well. The fruit should have a little give to it, but the skin should be smooth and free of wrinkles. The fruit should also feel a little heavy for its size in your hand. Peaches are members of the rose family, which is why they are so aromatic. Search out peaches with a strong peach smell. The stronger the smell, the riper they are. If you plan to use them later, choose firmer peaches that still have a bit of give when squeezed, but with fragrance. If you are impatient and need to fulfill your peach passion immediately, look for a softer peach with a stronger smell.
How to Store Peaches
Ripe peaches are best eaten right away, but if you have more than you can eat, stash them in the fridge for up to a couple of days. The cool temperature slows the ripening process. Most peaches that you buy will be underripe as the less ripe fruit travels more efficiently, so don’t store fruit in the fridge unless you’re trying to slow the ripening process. Once home, store peaches on your counter or in a pretty bowl and wash just before eating them. You can speed up the ripening process by putting the peaches in a paper bag (with a banana if you’re really in a hurry) and your peaches will be perfectly ripe in a day or so.
White Peaches vs. Yellow Peaches
Unlike their yellow-fleshed cousins, white peaches have a creamy pink-white flesh that is lower in acidity. I like to bake with the more intense flavored yellow peaches, but the delicate floral nature of white peaches makes them perfect for eating out of hand, grilling or to make sorbet.
White Peach Recipe
There are few things more refreshing than sorbet… and few sorbets are more refreshing than peach sorbet. Oh, sure, there’s peach pie and peach cobbler, but there’s something special about an ice-cold spoonful of sweet peach nectar. The simplicity of it and the fact that we can only get it a few months of the year, makes it taste even more magical. If you can make this sorbet with white peaches, well, that makes it even sweeter.
Peaches ripen effortlessly, but when you have too many peaches to eat in a short time, that can be a problem. Making peach sorbet is the best answer to that dilemma and the process is as easy as peeling and pitting a peach. A food processor makes short work of pureeing peaches, sugar and lemon juice into an unsurpassed summertime treat. The reason I’m so crazy for this peach sorbet is that you can’t buy anything like it. The freshness and ripeness of the peach really comes through and as simple as this dessert is, it lends itself to gilding grilled peaches, pound cake or even a flute of sparkling wine (my kind of dessert).
If you don’t have an ice cream machine, just freeze the mixture in a 9- by 13-inch pan and scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until frozen and grainy. It will be more like a granita than a sorbet, but it will still be delicious.
The color of your sorbet will vary by the color of the fruit. White peaches may oxidize a bit and turn darker but the taste will not suffer. This recipe works for regular or white peaches, so use whatever looks best to you.
A hefty stash of this sorbet in your freezer just might last you through the summer. Imagine the delight of friends and family when homemade peach sorbet appears effortlessly on the table. It’s as close to magic as a dessert can get.
White Peach Sorbet
Seasonal fruit is one of the best things about summer and peaches are just one of the best things, period. The season isn’t long, so eat them up while you can find them.
It’s that easy: Sorbet is a great way to use up overripe fruit. Even an ugly peach makes great sorbet, so chop up those wrinkly specimens to make the most of this precious fruit.
Start-To-Finish: 24 hours
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
- 10 large ripe white or regular peaches
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Peel, pit and chop peaches on a large cutting board.
- Add the peaches, sugar, lemon juice and salt to the work bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour the peach puree through a strainer into a medium-size bowl and refrigerate overnight or until really cold.
- Process the puree in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. It will be like soft serve.
- If you do not have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture in a 9- by 13-inch pan and scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until frozen and grainy.
- Transfer the finished sorbet to a chilled bowl and freeze until it firms up, about 2 hours.
- If you leave the sorbet in the freezer overnight it may become hard and difficult to scoop. In that case, leave it out on the kitchen counter for 5 to 10 minutes for it to soften and then scoop away. If the peaches were really ripe the sugar content may be higher in the sorbet and it won’t freeze as hard. That’s okay as well, just eat it quickly!
Make-ahead: The sorbet keeps for up to 3 months sealed and frozen.