How to Pit and Peel Peaches

What's the best way to peel a peach? It depends on the fruit's ripeness.

For firm peaches: Use sharp vegetable peeler to remove circle of skin at top and bottom of peach, then remove remaining skin with top-to-bottom strokes of peeler.

For soft, ripe peaches: Cut shallow cross in skin at blossom end of each peach. Plunge peaches, few at a time, into large pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. Transfer fruit to bowl of ice water until cool enough to handle, then strip away skins using your fingers (use paring knife for any stubborn bits).

To pit: Carefully cut peeled peach in half along equator, making sure to cut down to pit. Grasp both halves of peach and twist in opposite directions until 1 side pulls away from pit. Wiggle pit back and forth to loosen, then twist to remove. (For intractable pits, cut flesh from pit with vertical swipes of chef's knife, leaving pit encased in squared-off column of flesh.)

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