Use clingstones for cooking and freestones for serving raw
Peaches picked green are dead sea fruit
Here is the wisdom distilled from experience through bringing up in a peach country. Never try to use green peaches or those which, plucked green, have come to a feint of ripeness afterward. No market peach can ripen on the tree. It would be unmarketable before it had gone 1,000 miles.
It is the worst possible economy to buy poor peaches. For one thing, the waste is double — then what is eatable is never satisfactory. Another thing: clingstone peaches are best for cooking, clearstone ones for serving raw. Somehow that variety is far and away the more savory. If they are cooked on the seed, they keep their flavor better. If that is impracticable, cook plenty of seed with them.
1. Peach junket
Bring a quart of rich new milk to a boil, sweeten it with four tablespoons of sugar and flavor it to taste. When blood warm, add to it two teaspoons of prepared rennet. Peel and halve a dozen clear stone peaches. Drop brandy on some lumps of sugar and put one in the place of each seed. Set the halves together in the bottom of a cup and fill the cup three parts full with junket. Put the cups on ice and serve with plain cream sweetened and flavored with peach seed syrup.
2. Peaches in jelly
Prepare the fruit as for junket, but set it in clear glass nappies. Make a clear lemon jelly, using the fruit gelatin, and flavor it with ginger and the juice of two fresh lemons. Just as it begins to set, pour enough around the peaches to half cover them. Set them on ice with the rest of the jelly. When it is hard, break it up into small blocks and heap them over the tops of the peaches. Serve with cream or sweet white wine.
This has but one drawback: It must be prepared on the instant of serving. You need the ripest, juiciest clearstone peaches. Put them on ice until ready to peel and crush. Have some ice broken the size of small marbles. Half fill deep, thin glasses with it, and lay on top three lumps of sugar wet with brandy. Fill with crushed peaches, and send to table with whipped cream on top. Another way is to leave out the brandy and pour either claret or a dash of liquor over the fruit. Or a lemon may be squeezed over it, or it may be flooded with a creamy custard. In either of the last cases, use powdered sugar plentifully on top of peaches.
4. Peach pyramid
Peel and halve ripe clearstone peaches. Lay enough of them on a flat dish, with the hollows up, to form a square. Put in each hollow a lump of sugar that has been rubbed on the yellow rind of a lemon until it is well-flavored, then add a small layer of peaches, and fill the hollows likewise. Continue until you have a pyramid. Squeeze the juice of two lemons over it. Dust it thickly with powdered sugar, and keep cool until served.
5. Compote of peaches
Make a quart of strong ginger tea. Add to it one and one half pounds of sugar and the juice and yellow rind of three lemons. Boil and skim well, then throw in a few at a time ripe clingstone peaches, peeled, but on the seed. Let them cook until tender, skim out and put in more peaches, taking care to keep them whole. When all are cooked, heap them on a handsome glass dish. Skim out the lemon peel and add to the syrup enough gelatin, dissolved in cold water, to make a firm jelly. Pour the jelly in a shallow dish, and when hard cut into shapes. Lay them over the peaches and put on top of all the curls of lemon peel. Serve very cold. It is good as it is pretty for a high tea.
Indian peaches are the best. Peel, but leave them whole, and stick two cloves in each. Put them in a baking dish, letting the sides touch, cover them with sugar, dot all the top with lumps of butter, and bake in a steady, but not slow, oven until done. Excellent cold or hot. This is the finest possible relish for game or fowl or roast pig, as well as a fine dessert.
7. Peach dumpings
Roll good puff paste into rounds six inches across. Shape the rounds into cups by pinching up the edges. Set the cups in a baking pan, and put in each a big ripe peach on the seed, also a generous quantity of sugar and butter. If you like things very rich, use sweet cake dough instead of puff paste. Cook at the same heat as biscuit. When half done, fill up the cups with sugar and butter. Does not require sauce, but may be served with it.
8. Peach and tomato salad
Take half a dozen firm white peaches and as many firm red tomatoes. Peel and quarter but don’t slice them, and set on ice. Put into a bowl a heaping teaspoon of sugar, a saltspoon of celery salt, one quarter as much white pepper, a dust of cayenne pepper, and five drops of Tabasco. Add to this alternately, a little at a time, and all the while stirring, four tablespoons of salad oil and the juice of two limes. If properly mixed, it will be the consistency of cream. Line your salad bowl with leaves of heart lettuce. Pile the peaches and tomatoes in the middle, making them agreeable. At the very last minute, pour over them the dressing. In serving, put a spoonful of salad in the middle of a lettuce leaf.