Probably the only peach-picking you do is at the grocery store or the farmers’ market. Here’s a primer on how to select peaches at the market and ripen them at home; when they are are best for baking; and how to cook with peaches (how best to remove the skin, how to slice a peach, and what sweet and tart flavors pair well with them). You’ll also find out that peach varieties are many and fleeting; each one in a geographic zone has about a two-week window in the market, so it’s wise to learn the names of your local varieties. For Sally Small, peaches are “a pleasure for all the senses,” and she often urges you to hold, look at, and smell–but never to pinch!–them.
Now that your senses are filled with the glories of fresh peaches, here are three recipes created by Kathleen Stewart that feature them: Peaches with Dried-Cherry Shortcake; Peach Tart; and Baked Stuffed Peaches with a Late-Harvest Riesling Sauce.