There are two categories of peaches: clingstone and freestone. The flesh of clingstone peaches sticks to the pit and can be sliced off with a knife. (However, when a clingstone peach is fully ripe, it will often come off the pit more easily.) The first peaches of the season are always clingstone, but the intense flavor and juiciness of these early varieties makes up for the extra work. Freestone peaches are available as the season progresses and have flesh that’s easily separated from the pit, making them more popular for canning, freezing, etc.
1 lb. = about 2 large or 3 medium-sized peaches
1 lb. = about 2 cups peeled/sliced
1 lb. = about 1 1/2 cups peeled/pureed
Individual Peach Crisps
Healthy Peach Smoothie
At Kirby's, we pick our peaches tree-ripened but firm. This means that they have plenty of flavor, but aren't too ripe to avoid bruising on the way to the market and your home. To ripen peaches quickly, put them in a paper bag. If you're not in a hurry just leave them on the counter. Store fully ripe peaches in the refrigerator, however, unripe peaches will become mealy if stored in the fridge. If you would like more information about the different peach varieties we grow, grab a peach info sheet (next to the peach display) next time you're in the market.
Freezing: Peaches can be sliced and frozen by themselves, or in sugar or syrup. Order a peck or two and freeze in freezer-safe bags to enjoy peachy treats all winter long!
Preserving: Put up peaches in jars with syrup, or as peach jam. Some varieties are better for canning whole then others. Our favorite is Babygold, a late-season clingstone variety that you don't have to peel. Ask at the register to see a list of recommended peach varieties and their uses.
- Peaches can be sliced and served in yogurt or over ice cream, fruit salads, green salads or with cottage cheese (my Grandma Kirby's favorite!) or blended into frozen daiquiris, smoothies or shakes. Peaches are juicier and have a better flavor if they are served at room temperature.
- Peaches are a delicious addition to salsas, sauces and glazes as a complement to poultry and pork dishes.
- Cakes, bread, cobblers, crisps, sorbets and ice cream are also ideal places to feature peaches.
Serving Suggestions: One of my favorite summer breakfasts is sliced peaches with nuts! Sometimes I'll add a spoon of plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey.
The peach (prunus persica) is believed to be native to China and was cultivated as early as 1000 B.C. Peaches were once known as the Persian apple, and 'persica' from the Latin name for peach is a variation on 'Persia' - an indication of how much influence that culture had on the further cultivation of the fruit. From China, to Persia and then on to Greece – peaches were brought to Europe courtesy of Alexander the Great.
Although peaches were brought to the Americas by Spanish Explorers in the 16th century, it took a couple hundred years and a few more sea voyagers before they really took off. In the 19th century commercial peach production began in several southern states, including Georgia. But Georgia isn't where most peaches are grown in the US.... While New York State grew 5,900 tons of peaches in 2010, we don't even make it onto the list of the top five states for peach production. In 2010 the USA produced 1.2 million tons of peaches, most of which came from California. That's a LOT of peaches. Globally, the US is third, coming in behind China (holding the number one spot) and the European Union.
Nutrition: Peaches are a good source of Vitamins A and C, and of fiber.
Sweet, juicy and bite sized, donut peaches make a delicious snack. Because of their size, they're easier to eat. White donut peaches are low acid with a mellow flavor, while yellow varieties tend to have the flavor of a traditional peach. The above information about regular peaches (storage, preparation, etc) is also true of donut peaches.
First grown in the USA in the 1800's, these unusual fruits were then known as “Chinese Saucers” or “Chinese Flat” peaches due to their country of origin. In China, peaches have been revered for centuries to such a degree that they could only be found in the Emperor's garden. 19th century Americans preferred yellow varieties of peaches, and since donut peaches were traditionally white, they were soon phased out due to unpopularity. That's why everyone thinks that donut peaches are brand new, when in fact they're over two centuries old! However, the peaches available today are new varieties developed in areas like New Jersey and Australia. Such as Saturn, a mid-season yellow variety.