I'm never more aware of how beautiful produce is than when I'm at the farmer's market, but I have to believe there is none more beautiful than a peach. I love them so, I even had them put in the flower arrangements for my wedding. Peaches are more than just pretty fuzz however, they're also delicious. I could not help buying a few on my last trip to the market.
There are two basic kinds of peach, the freestone and the cling. The clever, clever peach naming people did this to help us. Freestone peaches detach easily from the pit, whereas the cling peaches, (wait for it)...cling. Which is better? Well, some say the cling are juicier and more delicious and others are just hung up on what a pain they are to work with. I say get freestone if you're intimidated by the work of a cling, it's better than being overwhelmed and avoiding peaches.
For those of you still emotionally scarred by the heat wave of 2010 (or is that just those of us on the east coast?), I strongly recommend a refreshing bowl of cantaloupe and peach soup. I promise it won't even heat up your kitchen.
One of my other favorite uses for fresh peaches is a peach and raspberry tart. The fruit is laid on top of a delicious cakey base, no messing with difficult pie crusts. I made one of these just yesterday since my peaches had already ripened.A peach is ripe when it smells like a peach. Don't worry if the ones you find at the farmer's market aren't quite ripe. You can ripen them easily at home. My nana is the absolute authority on ripening stone fruit and she swears by the paper bag method. Just tuck your fruit in a paper bag on the counter and check on it periodically. When your peach smells like a peach, you're done! Just make sure you use it before it gets mushy (although the cantaloupe and peach soup will hide a multitude of sins), so if you're not planning on using your peaches right away, don't buy them ripe.
For more on my latest trip to the farmer's market, stop on over at Half a Yard, then poke around for more fabulous crafting and gardening info!