We’re still enjoying peaches, one of summer’s quintessential treats. Easily bruised, peaches are often brought to market on the hard side. Put them inside a paper bag (side by side, rather than all piled up) and give them a day or two to fully ripen. Here’s a simple way to prepare peaches, to serve with cream or ice-cream. You’ll need to peel and pit them. You’re usually told to blanch the whole peach, then skin and halve it to remove the stone. If you’ve had plenty of practice at this, great — but skinned peaches are apt to be slippery and susceptible to dents. So, for the less practiced, here’s another way to go about it. Either way, once your peaches are prepped, the rest is a breeze.
3 medium-to-large firm ripe peaches (1 lb or so)
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbs. sugar
Wash peaches. Halve each peach by cutting it lengthwise, rotating your knife around the stone, and following the fruit’s natural crease. Cup peach halves in your hands and carefully twist until the two halves come apart. Ease out the stone. Boil a large kettle of water. Put 2 peach halves in a loaf tin or bowl that holds them steady, and pour just-boiled water around them, reaching up to the brim of the peach halves (but not over them.) A bare minute later, remove peach halves, dunk in cold water, and peel off the skin. (If skin doesn’t come off easily, scald peach halves in freshly-boiled water just a little longer.) Repeat for the second peach, then the third, scalding with freshly-boiled water each time.
Place skinned peach halves flat-side-down on a board and cut each half into 6 slices. Gently toss with lemon juice in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and mix again. Leave until all the sugar has melted into a syrup and serve peaches right away, or cover and refrigerate until serving time.