The blood peach (formerly known as blackbody peach; a name which may offend, so on Shared Kitchen we are going to run with blood peach) is one of nature’s wonders. Exactly where it came from and who named it thus is a bit of a mystery. McGrath Nurseries (Waikato, New Zealand) imported 6 varieties of red-fleshed peaches from France in the early 20th century, and other nurseries may have done the same, selecting the highest cropping trees over the years. They are grown in both the south and north islands of New Zealand and have a very short season – late February through to the first weeks in March.
Most varieties are free stone, meaning, you can cut through the natural indentation on the fruit, twist, and separate the two halves. The stone can easily be removed with a small knife, or picked out.
Blood peaches are stunning eaten as a fresh piece of fruit. But eat them while they are firm, not squishy. The skin is covered with soft fuzz. Either wash and dry the fruit before eating, or peel before using. The flesh is a surprising deep red, or tinged with red, dense though not cloying, and although juicy, blood peaches are not as dribbly as regular peaches, which is probably a good thing because the juice can stain. I find the flavour sharper than yellow peaches, and perhaps the perfume is not so intensely peachy, but nonetheless, you know you are eating a peach not a plum when you bite into one.
Picked from the tree the fruit will keep in a cool place for 2-3 weeks, but if mixed with other fruit in a fruit bowl it will deteriorate more quickly.
Blood peaches make fabulous preserves, are excellent bottled (use the overflow method), and can be dehydrated successfully in a dehydrator, or made into fruit leather. And they can be juiced. They are lovely stewed and served with custard, made into a tart and served with yoghurt or ice cream, topped with crumbled amaretti cookies and baked in white wine, and turned into a pureé and streaked through ice cream.
Or add a few slices to a glass of bubbles, or try them in savoury dishes.