Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Learning to Cook Like Grandma: Blanching and Peeling Peaches

Can someone please do me a favor?

The next time I poopoo some "old-fashioned," "time-consuming" technique that our grandmas and their grandmas have done for centuries...


Like, seriously. Geez Louise.

Backstory: my stepson is coming to visit. I want to make him his favorite dessert of all time: fresh peach pie. This entails peeling and cutting up eight big, fat peaches.

In the past, I've "known better" because "the-newfangled-way-has-to-be-better," so I've peeled the peaches with one of these (called a "vegetable peeler"):

(No, I don't know why it is on a chain, either.)

Peeling peaches "my way" resulted in:
  • mangled peaches
  • peaches being shot across the counter or into the sink after slipping from my grip
  • a dramatic loss of perfectly good peach flesh that did not end up in the pie (or anywhere else delicious and purposeful)
Clearly, my way is better than Grandma's, right???

Sigh. I'm such an arrogant ass.

Thank God for waves of "you-know, maybe-I-WILL-try-that-blanching-thing-that-all-the-old-recipes-tell-you-to-do..."

Folks, this is what you get when you blanch and ice peaches before peeling them:

An unpeeled, blanched peach beside peaches that have been blanched and peeled

I KNOW, RIGHT???? The skin peeled off in sheets like paper! No loss of deliciousness! And it would have taken me the SAME amount of time to mangle the peaches with a vegetable peeler than it did to blanch and peel them.

What did I do? Well, by gum, I'll tell you, even though I'm no grandma!
  1. Boil a small pot full of water that is deep enough to cover the largest peach.
  2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, take a paring knife (in the picture above) and carefully score a big 'X' in the bottom of each peach (opposite the stem side).
  3. Now get a big bowl of ice water.
  4. When the water is boiling, gently drop in a peach. Slowly count to 30 as you gently move it around to evenly boil all sides. Remove the peach and drop it in the ice water.
  5. Drop another peach in the boiling water. Count to 30. Remove the peach and drop it in the ice water. Remove the previously iced peach and put it on a plate/cutting board.
  6. Repeat until all the peaches are blanched.
  7. Pick up the first peach you blanched. Take the tip of your knife blade and slide it under the peach skin where it comes to one of the points on the 'X.' Place your thumb on top of the skin (so the skin is sandwiched between the knife blade and your thumb) and gently pull downward. Ta-daaaaa!!!! Repeat all the way around the peach.
  8. Repeat with all the peaches.
Oh my word, my world was changed. My arrogance was duly spanked, yes. And it did smart a bit...

But now there will be PIE.

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