All About Peaches
Peaches are at their peak from May until September. Although peaches are among the most popularly grown fruits in the U.S., they are actually native to China.
Peaches have long been an American favorite, and California is the nation's top producer.
There are several varieties of peaches to choose from: freestone, clingstone, white and nectarines.
Freestone and clingstone are the most common, and nectarines are cousins of peaches.
Freestone peaches are the easiest to pit and are very soft and juicy. Some varieties of freestones include Rich Lady, Elegant Lady, Summer Zee, Zee Lady and John Henry.
Freestones are the most common fresh peaches available in supermarkets.
Tip: Freestone peaches are perfect for recipes that require uniformly sliced peaches.
Clingstone peaches are firm, often canned, and best for recipes calling for diced or pureed peaches.
White peaches differ from the other varieties because of their pearly pink skin and white flesh. White peaches are less acidic and are often sweeter.
Nectarines are smaller, rounder, redder, sweeter and more acidic than peaches. Some common varieties of nectarines include Spring Bright, Honey Kist, Diamond Ray, Summer Bright and Summer Fire.
How to select peaches ~
Choose firm or slightly soft fruit that smells sweet, and avoid green peaches or those with bruises. Store peaches at room temperature until you're ready to eat them.
For a quick peach dessert ~
Peel 4 medium-sized peaches. Cut them into bite-sized cubes and toss with a tablespoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
Take 1 cup of vanilla yogurt and whisk together with 1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves. Divide the peaches between 4 small bowls. Top each with 1/4 cup of the yogurt mixture, a few fresh raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.