- Author: Lanie Keystone
Summer for us begins when we get our first box of perfect peaches from Brazelton's Ranch in Vacaville. Since first learning of this glorious ranch and getting to know the entire amazing Brazelton family, our weekly drive to Pleasants Valley Road has become our favorite summer tradition. Of course, we never even wait to get home to bite into that succulent golden delight-- or even until we pull down their dirt road. We just grab one out of the box, bite into it and let the juices go where they may. The varieties are each, in their own way, delicious—and, of course, we try them all. The Brazeltons have even told us how to prepare and freeze these gems so we can have July in February! More about that later.
Over all the years that we have been enjoying the community of Brazelton peach lovers, I've been squirreling away more peach stones than I care to admit—always with the thought that maybe I could grown my own amazing peach tree. I always thought there was some unreachable magic to it, but I just kept saving those stones. This is the year that I'm really going to do it—and it doesn't seem as tricky or magical as I thought. So, after some research, here's the magic of preparing a peach seed for planting:
- Carefully remove the seed from the pit leaving the brown coating intact. You can use pliers to crack the pit.
- Place the seeds on a damp paper towel and fold the towel over. Put the towel with the seeds in a Ziplock® bag and label and date the bag.
- Tape the bag to the inside of the fridge wall to avoid bumping it and damaging the seeds.
- Keep the bag away from other fruits.
- Let them germinate—usually 6-8 weeks.
- Keep the paper towel damp throughout this time.
- Once they've germinated, plant them in tall, disposable plastic pots; water and continue to let them grow…how satisfying!
- Plant them outdoors in the spring.
A FEW FUN QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
- Why put them in the refrigerator? The fridge acts as a “winter season” for the seeds. Like many plants, peach seeds need to be “winterized” or experience cold stratification. They also need to be kept in a moisturized environment. Thus the damp towel. Be sure that it's damp and not wet, as you don't want mold to grow.
- Why keep them away from certain fruits? Certain fruits like apples, bananas, and apricots produce a gas called ethylene. Ethylene can either inhibit or promote growth. In the case of peach pits, it speeds up the growth process and can greatly affect the quality of your seeds, and hence, your peaches.
- When is a good time to transplant the “tree”? Spring is a perfect time. Take the pot with your little peach tree, dig a hole a bit larger than the pot that it's in. It's important not to disturb the roots, so carefully cut down the side of the plastic pot, dislodge the tree, and cover it with soil and water. Keep the young tree well-watered for the first few days…then water when the soil becomes dry.
- When will I get to enjoy my first peaches? In just three to four short years your miracle tree should be bearing fruit. The tree will still be small and you won't fill up bushels with them, but you will begin to have your peaches.
- Will my peaches taste just like the peaches that my seeds came from? Maybe yes, maybe no! But that's the fun and magic of planting your wonderful peach seeds.
AND NOW—HOW DO YOU CAPTURE JULY PEACHES IN FEBRUARY? Try not to eat all your summer peaches at once! Save some for freezing to enjoy when most folks are just dreaming of the perfect peach. And here's how to successfully do that: Peel the skin off of as many peaches as you want to freeze. Remove the pit (want to plant it?!?) Scrape out the red fleshy part where the pit was nestled. Cut the peaches into chunk size pieces. Spread out the chunks on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet. Freeze for a day. Take the frozen peach chunks and place them in a Ziplock® plastic bag. They will remain separated and solid until you want to use them in the middle of winter…and you won't have to “dream of your perfect peach”—it will be a reality! Enjoy!