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Archive for January 30th, 2008

Summer Heaven

Ah summer…while many of my friends and family are bracing the winter chills, I am grateful for the warm weather and blissfully happy about the produce that it brings! After spending the last four months in a tropical climate, it is nice to see such varied fruit available for sale at the markets. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good mango, papaya and pineapple but I would feel torn if I had to pick between tropical fruits and stone fruit.

So I went crazy one day at the local produce market and bought five different stone fruit in one shopping expedition! What came home with me were: yellow nectarines, white nectarines, white peach, donut peach and peacherines. I have to admit, I am not that familiar with peacherines but these ones were highly acidic and although very flavourful, I was stunned by the bracing acidity it gave me.

The “donut” (USA) or “saucer” (AUS) peach is a curiously flat-shaped heirloom variety that is a direct descendant of the original Chinese flat peach. Although fairly “new” in markets, it was originally thought to have been cultivated in America in the 1800s but because Americans preferred their peaches bright yellow, the flat peach was not popular due to its white flesh. It is interesting that white peaches are the norm in Asia, while the yellow peach is the norm in the west. In Japan, white peaches are huge and flawless and can set you back around $5USD or more for one, depending on the quality.

If you happen to get a good deal on white peaches that are ripe but not bruised, can them in gorgeous glass jars. I always use a medium-bodied syrup with real vanilla beans because the aromatic vanilla really compliments the fragrant white peaches. When left to infuse for a few months and chilled, it makes for a great dessert during winter to wipe away the seasonal blues.

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