Originally native to China, peaches are among the most popularly grown fruits in the United States with California and Georgia being the nation's top producers.
At their peak from May through September, there are a number of common varieties of peaches to choose from in the market. These include freestone, clingstone, white and everyone's favorite “baldy,” the nectarine.
Freestones are the most common fresh peaches available in supermarkets. They are the easiest to pit, have soft, juicy flesh and are perfect for recipes that require uniform slices.
Clingstone peaches are firm, often used for canning, and best suited for recipes that call for diced or puréed peaches.
White peaches have a pearly pink skin and white flesh. They are less acidic and have a somewhat sweeter, more floral aroma and flavor.
Nectarines are rounder, redder and slightly more acidic than regular peaches. They also lack the fuzzy skin.
Shopping & Storage
Choose firm or slightly soft fruit with unwrinkled skin. Avoid rock-hard, green peaches or those with bruises as they may not ripen well.
Store peaches at room temperature, stem side down, until fully ripe and check frequently by sniffing the stem end. A fully ripe peach will have a fragrant, sweet smell.
A medium-sized peach (about 2-1/2 inches in diameter) has around 60 calories and is a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, potassium and Vitamin C.
Tip: 1 lb of peaches (3 medium or 2 large) yields about 2 cups cubed, 1 cup puréed
5-Minute Fresh Peach Dessert
Peel 4 medium-sized peaches, then cut into bite-sized cubes and toss with 1 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 and garnish with fresh raspberries if available.