Food & Drinks

How to Use the Whole Peach, From Skins to Pits

Peaches are my emblem of this summer past, and I am smitten. But since I got to them a bit late this season, I’m determined to hold onto some of the summer sun long into fall and “orange season.” And what better way than to up my preserving game?

Here are a few ways to bottle the last days of summer for remembering fondly when the autumn days glow amber.

The skin

For me, the experience of a peach is in that first bite into soft, juicy fruit, my nose full of the delicate fragrance of summer. But many recipes—for filling pies, making preserves, and poaching gently—call for skinned peaches: peaches with Xs cut into bottoms, dunked in boiling hot water for a scant minute, cooled in ice water right after, skins shimmied off.

This year, I used that skill to skin everything from plums to tomatoes. But because I didn’t consider it an option to get rid of those skins while preserving a couple of kilos of the fruit, I dried and blitzed them into flakes and powders.

Peel the peaches, then top them with buttermilk and ginger syrup.

Elizabeth Cecil

I started with ripe peaches (unripe ones are reluctant to let go of their skins, trust me, I tried). Once they were blanched and peeled, the first step was to dry out their skins. I laid them out in a single layer on paper napkins, then microwaved for two minutes on the quick start setting, typically high heat. A tip I learned as I went: Let the skins sit for 30–60 seconds before you conclude whether or not they are crisp enough. If they aren’t crisp, put them back in for a couple of 30-second cycles.

Once dry and brittle, I admired their rose-petal looks and floral scent before I blitzed them down in my spice grinder. The skins of 15 medium peaches gave me 2 teaspoons powder. And still, I’d say it was worth the trouble! I added a scant ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt to the blend, which was perfect over vanilla ice cream with a splash of olive oil. Next destination? Coating balls of cookie dough just before baking.

Even if you aren’t making preserves, peach skin powder might be up your alley if you have haptodysphoria—a dislike for fuzzy fruits and surfaces like peaches, velvet, and velour. (Or just wet the fruit and rub off the fuzz with a clean dish towel.)

The flesh

I cut my skinned peaches into quarters (I saved the pits for noyaux—see below!) and piled them into a sterilized jar, peppered with thick slices of green jalapeños. I poured over a sweet syrup—1 part white sugar to 3 cups water, brought to the boil then simmered for 6–7 minutes, till slightly reduced and syrupy.

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