Peaches: Cling & Freestone
My family planted cling peaches (more about that later) a few years ago. I want to say we have about 120 acres of late variety trees. They begin to ripen in late July and early August, just as I go back to school.
California peach varieties begin showing up at farmer's markets, fruit stands, and grocery stores in June all the way through August. You may have noticed that peaches come in two kinds: clingstone and freestone. To break it down even further, peaches can have a white flesh or a yellow flesh. So what are these categories about?
Clingstone means that the fruit "clings" to the stone or pit. These varieties are used for processing into canned peaches, purees, and pie fillings. Clings tend to hold their shape better compared to freestone peaches making them ideal for pies and cobblers. When I bake or can I always use fresh yellow clingstone peaches. They really do taste the best.
Freestone peaches "free" from the stone or pit. This means that the flesh removes easily making them ideal for slicing and eating raw. Again, you have the option of yellow or white flesh. I personally enjoy a juicy white freestone peach for snack time.
Now that you have a better understanding of peach basics it's time to make something yummy for your tummy with them! May I suggest a clingstone peach lemonade or a freestone olive oil ricotta flatbread?
Clingstone Peach Lemonade
2 cups yellow clingstone peaches peeled and sliced
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
2 3/4 cup water, divided
Using a blender or food processor, blend the peaches until smooth. Transfer to a large pitcher along with the lemon juice and 2 cups of cold water.
Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and remaining 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool slightly before adding to the pitcher.
Stir the lemonade until combined and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Serve over ice and garnish with additional peach slices.
Freestone Peach & Ricotta Flatbread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing
freshly ground black pepper
2 freestone peaches, sliced and stones removed
1/4 pound prosciutto
1 cup arugula
Mix together the whole wheat flour, yogurt, baking powder, baking soda, and garlic into a rough dough, Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth, about 2 minutes. Portion dough out into 8 pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll each dough portion into a square, about 1/4” thick.
Heat a griddle over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil. When the pan is hot add the dough and cook, turning after 3 to 4 minutes or when the bottom is golden brown. Repeat until each piece is cooked.
In a small bowl. mix together the ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, and freshly ground pepper. Spread evenly over flatbreads. Top with prosciutto, peach slices, and arugula. Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.