Friday, August 6, 2010

White peaches

Is there anything more ephemeral and more sensuous than a ripe white peach at the peak of its perfume and about-to-be-bruised-ability?

No. There isn't.

I admit: I have in the past snuck white peaches from California at my greengrocer on Atlantic Avenue. That is a jailable offence in the local food world. I have pureed those Saturn peaches for Bellinis, and they are not bad. Last year they were perfect, with a clear, pure flavour, but this year I detect a vague woolliness.

But today I walked past the Borough Hall Farmers' market on the way home from the subway and I strolled the stands, buying perfectly ripe white peaches at one, and yellow loose-pit peaches at another.

The white peach stand was offering free samples, not just slices, but entire fruit, and people had stopped like sticky bees around the tables, standing there with silly smiles on their faces, arching spasmodically away from the juice running over their hands onto the flagstones. One man testified, This is the the most, theeeee MOST phenomenal peach I have EVAH tasted! That was a yellow peach. I ate two as soon as I got home, standing over the kitchen sink. He was right. I wish my mother were here. These are, somehow, American peaches - as though they were invented here. Essence of the best. Tonic and totem against the worst.

But. The white peaches...

The second best thing you can do to a white peach - after wolfing one au naturel, of course - is to peel it carefully. Put it in a bowl. Pour chilled prosecco over it.

Eat it with a spoon, or, as I did after two mouthfuls, your fingers.

Dip the soft fruit it back into the cold wine so that a film coats each velvety, deeply sweet and juice-rich bite of peach.

Tonight? White peach soup, with Viognier. An experiment.


  1. You take me back to the Bloemfontain market where I could buy white peaches by the tray - or pick from our tree,and yellow Albertas, and tiny sweet plums, and big green and yellow plums ....
    and now I have the big moutain to look at every morning as it changes from dark, rocky buttresses to a rose pink miracle.

  2. Hen -

    I think that it is those white peaches from that tree to which I compare every white peach I eat. It is unfair, as those are framed in perfection in memory...the way their skins peeled back to reveal perfectly smooth peach. Also the apricots from the tree at the swimming pool. And the plums in the vegetable garden at the back.

    I think I must commission a post from you about the market, because I was too small to remember it well. I was thinking about it yesterday when I was writing something about roast chicken...

    Remember the Rondebosch Market under the railway bridge?

    I miss your mountain.

  3. Our primary source of white peaches was a sprawling tree that was meant to flower, but also produced apricot sized peaches for a week or two around December. In contrast to the blossoms, the peaches came quietly, some years we only found them accidentally squishing underfoot in a rich, decomposing way. At other years I spent whole afternoons systematically stuffing myself.

    En ons moes groot geelperskes altyd oor die wasbak in die kombuis eet, om skade aan huis en klere te voorkom. Ek doen dit soms steeds.

    The soup sounds MOST phenomenal.

  4. I have no memories of white peach trees. but I remember how they taste and now I'm waiting impatiently for gg to come home so we can go and get some.


  5. Loved, loved this post and I want, want some of those peaches.

  6. Your post made me march straight to the refrigerator for a CSA white flat peach. I scorned the flat peach as a fad until we got them in our share last year. Love them and their freestone nature. It's been a great year for peaches.

  7. Marie,

    Thanks for the "recipe" on peaches and prosecco. Not a wine drinker I was intrigued by the image and the idea, needless to say, today I made my small family marched down our nearest "pick-your-own" farm, then to the liquor store, and straight back home. The whole dish, including the mini-field day, make our day! Thanks.

  8. Because of this post, the girls and I had peaches and Prosecco at our "girlfriends" dinner on Saturday night. We started our meal with them. It was fabulous. Everyone was so impressed with my knowledge of this, and I attributed it all to you!

    Plus also, we have fresh Colorado peaches delivered to our town this time of year and we buy them by the lug. they are like eating candy! If you ever have the chance to have a Colorado peach, definitely do!.

    My favorite way to eat them is standing over the sink with juice running down my arms and chin!

  9. Oh. my. gosh. I bought white peaches at the same market this morning, and um. Words escape me. If sunshine had a perfume... this would be it. I am so buying some champagne tonight for the others.

  10. I am so very pleased that this inspired all that slurping and drinking!


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