Due to the spring frost, Eckert’s Homegrown Peaches will be available exclusively in Eckert’s Belleville Country Store and Eckert’s St. Louis Farm Market in 2014. Bursting with sweetness, Eckert’s peaches herald the arrival of summer. The Eckert family selects only the best-tasting peach varieties.
Since ripening schedules and crop availability are not an exact science, always be sure to check the Eckert’s Crop Update to find out what crop(s) are available.
Peaches are a stone fruit, and two main types exist: clingstone and freestone. Clingstone peaches are the earliest ripening peaches, and are named for the flesh that will not pull away from the pit. Firm clingstones are recommended for canning. Since they cannot be pitted, slice or quarter them making cuts with a paring knife toward the center and around the pit. Then lift out each slice. The freestone varieties ripen a little later and are the most common varieties found in markets. To pit a freestone peach, cut it lengthwise into halves around the pit. Twist the halves in opposite directions to separate them. Remove the pit with the tip of a knife. Since the pit can be easily removed, this peach is recommended for fresh eating.
Buying and Storing
When selecting peaches, choose slightly firm and plump peaches that yield somewhat to pressure. Blushes are an indicator of the variety of peach, but not its ripening status. Tree-ripened peaches need additional ripening once purchased to increase their softness and juiciness. Place peaches in a paper bag, and set a room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Do not refrigerate unripe peaches because this inhibits ripening and causes the fruit to become dry, mealy, and flavorless. Once peaches are ripe, they can be refrigerated from 5 to 7 days.