In late February and early March, Golden Queen peaches are at their best. They are a firm clingstone peach that in my early career could only be sold where there was a largely immigrant population. To most of my generation, they were regarded as the bottling peach... but in fact, they are delicious as a fresh product. A lot of peaches in March are not so good, it is getting a little late for them but for Golden Queens this is their time. Definitely worth a try.
Golden Queen Peaches has a lovely yellow, firm flesh that improves with age. They normally arrive in the market in a firm condition and will have flesh that crunches when eaten, but as they ripen they will begin to soften and become more juicy. They are fantastic as an any-time snack but you can also enjoy them sliced up in fruit or vegetable salads, pies, flans or on top of cheesecakes and pavlovas. They are also great for jams and chutneys and goes well with chicken, pork and fish dishes.
HOW TO PICK
Look for fruits that are smooth and unblemished. Because they bruise easily, peaches should be handled with care specially when already ripe.
HOW TO STORE
Store peaches at room temperature until ripe — this usually takes 2 to 3 days. A ripe fruit will yield a bit when pressed gently. To speed up the ripening process, place peaches in a paper bag and store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Storing ripe stone fruit in the crisper drawer will prolong its eating life — it should keep for up to a week when refrigerated.