Composing this post at the keyboard so randomness and digressions are probable.
When I think about peach fuzz, two things come to mind. The first is the fuzz on the fruit, and the other is pre-teen and teen boys who begin to have their first whiskers.
I will tackle the second thing first. I have two grown sons, and somehow I never noticed when they first had “peach fuzz” although they must have had it at some time. I don’t think I was an oblivious mother, but who knows. I can’t imagine that somehow they went from no real facial hair to a full beard requiring shaving without that peach fuzz stage. Of course, each of them has had facial hair at one time or another since then. My older son has sported a mustache as well as huge sideburns from time to time. My younger son sports a goatee, and each has participated in Movember (a foundation and website that promotes mustache growth in November to raise funds for and shed light on prostate cancer) a time or two. In fact, I have donated in the past to the cause, but I digress. Enough about hairy faces…
Back to the fruit, and its propensity for a fuzzy exterior. When I was a young girl, I preferred canned peaches much more than the fresh fruit. Why? Because of the freaky feeling of the fuzz against my lips and mouth. I never considered having it peeled as that would have required asking for help. Eventually, I learned to grab a knife and skin it, but mostly I avoided the fresh fruit. The tactile experience of the fuzzy peaches creeped me out, frankly; however, over time, I learned to “get over it” as I love the taste of fresh peaches.
A quick digression: For those who may suggest nectarines as the smooth-skinned fruit that’s a good substitute for peaches, I respectfully disagree. Nectarines are not nearly as tasty or juicy as peaches; it is like comparing oranges to tangerines (and I am not even going to get into the subject of tangelos). Oranges are just juicier and better flavored than tangerines. Yeah, each has its uses and advantages, but oranges and peaches are better than tangerines and nectarines respectively. Okay, maybe that’s just my opinion.
Maybe, time mellowed my aversion to peach fuzz because I noticed that peaches seem to be less furry than they used to be. The ones purchased at the grocery or farmer’s market have less fuzz, or so it seems. I don’t know if they have bred the fuzz off or whether they are shaved.
This has really become apparent now that my husband and I have a dwarf peach tree. It was planted several years ago in our expanding garden. Or to paraphrase/quote Michael Caine’s character in Secondhand Lions (I totally recommend this movie; if you haven’t seen it, check it out, but I digress), “We’re retired; that’s what retired people do, they garden.” This year we have enough peaches to make cobbler and pies, to eat, and to freeze some for this fall and winter. These peaches are extremely fuzzy; they remind me of the peaches of my youth. Fortunately, the fuzz rubs off pretty easily, and I have noticed that the riper the peach the less fuzz it has.
As for our expanding garden, we now have a concord grape arbor (planted in 2011), two raised beds (expanded from one two years ago), and an asparagus patch, which was planted this year and not expected to have a crop for at least two years. Our raised beds started with cherry tomatoes and leaf lettuce. Then the following year we added winter squash and cucumbers, but this year we decided to only plant spaghetti squash as well as the tomatoes and lettuce. So far, we have been blessed with five or six squash despite my husband’s constant fight with the squash borer, plenty of cherry tomatoes, a healthy lettuce crop in June, and, surprisingly, a cucumber. The grapes are ripening and hope that the birds will leave us a few to eat.
Now, it’s time to pick some fuzzy peaches, peel them, and make a pie.