How to store, prep, and cook peaches & nectarines

The season has come for delicious soft & fuzzy peaches and nectarines to grace our boxes! We couldn’t be more excited, and joining us for the ride is Camille (@callherchef) who is going to guide us through the best ways to enjoy these delicious pink and orange fruits.

Whether they’re ready to eat, overripe, or bruised, here’s how to make the most of them in all their glory:

Image of peaches

DID YOU KNOW?

The peach is a member of the stone fruit family, along with nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries. They also are relatives of almonds. There is a wide variety of them that includes classic, extra sweet, white and flat peaches. Peaches are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They boost the immune system, support healthy skin, and contain beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants, which can help protect your body from aging and disease.

TIPS:

  • When holding the peach in your hand try to work over a bowl to catch any juices. On the board, try to collect the juices too. Do not throw it away, use it in your recipe or simply add it into water and drink it!
  • Sliced or chopped peaches can discolor. Simply toss with a little lemon juice to retard browning.
  • To quicken the ripening process, place peaches in a paper bag until ripe enough to your taste.
  • Some recipes ask for peeling the fruit. The skin is edible, delicious and highly nutritious. So keep it, it is too good to be wasted!

Store them by…

Store your peaches on the counter at room temperature until they are ripe. They should then be stored in the fridge, where they will keep for up to five days. If you have too many on ends, prevent food waste by freezing them. Simply follow the steps below to safely get the pit out and cut your peaches. Then lay them on a baking tray and stick in the freezer for a few hours until they're frozen through. Transfer the peach wedges to a resealable plastic bag and freeze until ready to use. You can keep them for up to 6 months in the freezer, so definitely worth saving!

Prepare them by…

Peaches are a great fruit to eat out of hand, but also amazing to play with in the kitchen. Just wash thoroughly with cold water and get cooking, following one of the steps below!

1. CUT

With a knife, cut the peach in half all the way around. Hold each half of the cut peach and twist the halves in opposite directions. This action will loosen the pit. Pull the peach halves apart and remove the pit. If needed you can dig the pit out with a spoon. Then cut the peach halves into slices or thick wedges.

2. SEGMENT:

Use a sharp paring knife, make a cut down to the pit. Then cut parallel to the first cut 1 cm (or desired thickness) over, also to the pit. Flick the blade of your knife in the direction of the first slice, the segment will come away easily. Repeat with remaining fruit.

Grow them by…

For the zero-waste, very patient gardener out there:

Did you know that you can regrow your peach pits?

  • Carefully crack the pits open and save the kernels.
  • Put your pits in soil in a resealable plastic bag and keep it in the fridge.
  • Check them 3 months later. If you have little roots, plant them in pots or ground. They will grow, but you will have to wait a few years before it starts to produce fruits. You could eventually offer a few of your baby ODDBOX peaches to friends and family for a sustainable present idea. :)

Cook them by…

1. GRILL

This is great for the not over ripened peaches, as the process of grilling will draw out the flavour, caramelise and soften the fruit. To avoid ending up with a puree of fruit use peaches halves or thick slices. Brush them with a little olive oil, place them under the oven grill or on the barbecue for about 5 minutes. Grilled peaches are perfect in salad, or served with meat, fish and even as an ice cream or yoghurt topping.

2. ROAST/BAKE

Cut and coat your peaches in a little olive oil, and/or honey then roast them in a hot oven for a few minutes until warm and juicy. Perfect for simple but original salad toppings, in desserts but also with cheeses. The warm roasted peaches will melt in with the cheese, almost like a chutney. Add them to any cheese boards for a guaranteed hit! You can also bake your peaches in pastry for delicious fruity desserts, such as pies or tarts.

3. STEW

This is a great technique for the too ripe and bruised peaches. Do not throw them away, they will make the most delicious compote, which you can freeze too and enjoy all year long. You can turn all the odd ones into edible gold!

To stew your peaches, carefully cut them, making sure to save all the juices. Add them with their juices into a saucepan (slow cooker works well too) over medium to high heat. Add a drizzle of lemon juice, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the peaches are tender. You could add cinnamon powder, or vanilla extract for an extra natural sweetener, and chia seeds to make a jam in no time.

4. DRINK

Peaches are soft, juicy and hydrating. Over 85% of a fresh peach is water and will make the perfect base for milkshakes, smoothies and cocktails. You can pair them with other fruits (strawberries, blueberries, bananas…), and herbs too (rosemary, thyme, mint, basil…). This is another really good way to use your peaches and to be creative!