Meet Your Ingredients: Peaches

Meet Your Ingredients: Peaches

One of the highlights of summer is peach season. Get everything you need to know about these juicy fruits before heading to the farmer’s market this weekend. 

About peaches 

Peaches are a member of the stone fruit family that are known for their yellow-orange fuzzy skin and juicy flesh. 

Originally from China, peaches are now hugely popular in the U.S. with Georgia even being nicknamed “The Peach State.” 

Hitting their peak at the end of summer, August is National Peach Month, and you can find these sweet fruits popping up on restaurant menus throughout the country. 

Nutrition of Fresh Peaches 

One medium-sized peach provides: 

  • 58 calories
  • <1 gram of fat
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 14 grams of carb
  • 2 grams of fiber

They’re also a good source of vitamins C and A, as well as potassium and antioxidants. 

Bonus tip: fresh peaches are higher in antioxidants than canned. 

Meet Your Ingredients: Peaches

How to select peaches

When choosing peaches, look for one’s without bruising or wrinkled skin. They should also be soft (but not mushy) when lightly squeezed using your hand – try to avoid poking them with your finger! 

Freestone vs. Clingstone

There are two main types of peaches: freestone and clingstone. While fairly similar, there are a few differences between the two.

The biggest difference is simply that the flesh of clingstone peaches is harder to remove from the pit as they “cling” to it.

Freestone: these peaches can be yellow or white and are usually slightly larger than clingstone. When using in cooking and baking, they fall off easily from the pit and work well in cooking, baking, canning and freezing. Of course, they’re also delicious eaten raw as a snack. 

Clingstone: these clingy peaches are typically smaller and juicier than freestone varieties, which is why they’re most frequently used for making jams, jellies, and canning. While some grocery stores sell them, clingstones are more commonly found at farmer’s markets. They can also be yellow or white. 

Semi-Freestone: I lied, there are actually three types; however semi-freestones are less common. A hybrid of the two peach types, they fall off the pit easier like freestone, yet are sweeter and juicier like clingstone. 

How to store peaches that aren’t ripe yet

When peaches are still firm to the touch, keep them on the counter at room temp until they’ve ripened.

Be sure to avoid washing peaches until ready to eat to avoid mold growth, and don’t pile them on top of one another as they’re prone to bruising. 

How to store ripened peaches 

Once peaches are soft and ready to eat, you need to move fast. Ideally, you should eat ripe peaches the day you bring them home; however, you can buy yourself some time by storing them in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

How to use peaches in cooking/baking

These juicy round fruits are super versatile. 

Raw, they can be added to salads, sliced and placed on toast along with almond butter or ricotta, added to sandwiches, blended into a smoothie or cocktail, or used as a topping for yogurt parfaits, oatmeal (including overnight oats), french toast, waffles, and pancakes. 

Looking for an appetizer? This Peach caprese salad is one of my all-time favorites!

Of course, they can also be cooked to make a sweet topping for breakfast treats or desserts or boiled down into a sauce, jam, or marinade.

They’re also a delicious addition to baked meat dishes, like pork and chicken, pizzas, grilled cheeses, and quesadillas

And we haven’t even touched on dessert! From pies, crumbles, and crisps to cookies, breads, bars, and cakes, there aren’t many dessert-types that you can’t make a peach version of. 

Cheesy peach quesadillas

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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

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