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.
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.
One medium-sized peach provides:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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