Monday, August 14, 2006

Red Haven Peaches

I've never really paid much attention to peach varieties. Apples, I knew. Macintosh, sweet and tart and good for sauce and pies (if you like your pies mushy). Granny Smiths, tart and green, good for pies that you didn't want mushy. Red Delicious - the opposite of its name, and to be avoided at all costs.

But peaches were those hard fuzzy balls I bought in the grocery store for my husband. Or so I thought until last summer, when I discovered Red Haven peaches at my local Farmer's Market last year. Red Haven peaches are everything you want a peach to be. Firm on the outside, sweet and pungent and dripping-down-your-chin juicy on the inside. Luscious peaches.

I tried some other peaches from my Farmer's Market earlier this year, expecting them to be just as good, by virtue of being fresh and local and picked when they were ripe. But that's when I learned that varieties matter for peaches just as much as they do for apples. And I've been holding out for the Red Havens ever since.

While excellent for eating out of hand, Red Haven peaches are also good grilled, especially with a little balsalmic vinegar brushed on them first. It's a tasty way to use up the heat that's left in the coals when you've finished grilling the rest of your dinner. Serve with vanilla ice cream for an especially decadent treat.

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