Peaches windfall forreal
May 24, 2012 6:40 PM   Subscribe

What to do with all of these not quite ripe small peaches? A branch fell. I now have 25% of the fruit from it, but they're pretty small and not quite sweet enough to eat straight. They seem too lovely to waste. Will they ripen much? Recipes for using them as is?
posted by mandymanwasregistered to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
I'd try making preserves, ice cream or ice cream/pancake topping (blanch fruit to remove peel, slice, heat with brown sugar, cinnamon and butter). To make up for the lacking sweetness in the fruit, you can adjust the sugar to taste.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:51 PM on May 24, 2012

Or peach pie! I'd probably cook the fruit a little bit first to make sure it gets soft.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:52 PM on May 24, 2012

Slightly under-ripe fruit is actually desirable in making jam, as the fruit has a firm texture, lots of pectin, and a tart flavor that combines well with lots of sugar. I always make jam with Certo brand liquid pectin; basic instructions and recommended sugar/pectin/fruit quantities for different fruits are printed on an insert. Homemade jam, if properly canned, will be shelf-stable indefinitely and makes a nice gift.
posted by Orinda at 6:58 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

peaches will ripen a little off the tree--though they'll soften more than they will sweeten.

me, I'd mostly can them, some in syrup and some pickled. slightly underripe fruit processes best.
posted by peachfuzz at 7:12 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Toss peeled and very thin or julienned slices in a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of unsweetened rice vinegar and plum wine plus scant sugar (to taste). Refrigerate these pickles until transparent and slightly macerated. Peach cold pickles are delicious on pulled pork sandwiches, vanilla or green tea ice cream, buttered toast, BBQ or roast chicken, grilled fish--or make homemade sushi rolls and put peach pickles and cream cheese in the middle.
posted by rumposinc at 7:13 PM on May 24, 2012 [30 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh man, peach pickles! I love pickles and I love peaches--why did I not already know about this?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:15 PM on May 24, 2012

Not-quite-ready peaches are great to grill, cool a bit, peel, chop, and toss with greens, goat cheese, fresh herbs, and balsamic vinegar for a spectacular salad!
posted by pupstocks at 7:40 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you have the capacity for homebrewing beer, etc. you can try peach beer (hefewizen, perhaps?) or mead, or if you are fearless & intrepid, schnapps.
posted by scalespace at 9:56 PM on May 24, 2012

posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:09 PM on May 24, 2012

I'd halve and pit and put them in a ziplock bag with maple syrup, rum, olive oil and cinnamon. Let sit for while.

Then grill until soft. Then serve with vanilla ice cream and fresh blackberries.
posted by slateyness at 4:46 AM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Peach pickles are fantastic.

But knowing that you have a ton of them, you could experiment with a nice peach infusion? With peaches that are a little green, I would imagine them working very well with vodka, but also gin or whiskey.

A couple of dashes of peach-infused booze would go great with some sparkling prosecco later this summer!
posted by furnace.heart at 6:08 AM on May 25, 2012

OH! To prevent this from happening again next season with another branch, when the peach tree is in bloom, pick about half of the blossoms make an infusion.

Flowers + Booze make some amaaaaaazing cocktails. Just that with some sparkling water would make for a really unique and tasty treat.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:11 AM on May 25, 2012

I don't have a specific recipe for you, but wanted to let you know that if the fruit is not mature enough, it'll never ripen satisfactorily. There are several changes that take place in mature stone fruit as it ripens - ethylene rises, flavor and aromas develop, the flesh softens, acidity drops - but if the fruit didn't get to the finish line that maturity represents before coming off the tree, it won't ripen properly. Even in mature fruit, the amount of sugar doesn't increase once it's harvested. It stars tasting sweeter, but that's because the acidity drops and the sugar is more detectable to our palates.

That looks like it might have been a lot of fruit for that branch, and that may have contributed to it breaking. Did you thin the fruit? Thinning is done earlier in the spring, when the fruit is tiny, and it allows the tree to put its energy into producing fewer, larger, sweeter pieces of fruit and reduces stress on it. The Dave Wilson Nursery is a good place to learn about caring for backyard orchards. Here's their thinning video.

In the Central Valley, as the summer goes on, you frequently see stone fruit trees with boards propping up the "scaffolds," which are the large branches. The greater the weight of fruit, the more help the tree needs, but even if the tree is given extra support, an overload of fruit, beyond what the tree can really do successfully, will result in lots of small fruit without much sugar.
posted by jocelmeow at 12:31 PM on May 25, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the great ideas!

The tree isn't mine so thinning the branch isn't really something I will need to do. It was pretty clearly overpacked, but alas, not my tree.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:54 PM on May 25, 2012

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