Each year, the summer season signals the arrival of juicy, sweet peaches. In the United States, most peaches are grown in California, Georgia, and South Carolina. Unfortunately, our cold temperatures in Iowa are not suited for growing this wonderful fruit tree.
There are three general types of peaches:
• Clingstone—Flesh clings tightly to the pit. The early season fruit is generally clingstone and is best used for cooking and canning.
• Freestone—Flesh readily separates from the pit. These are good for eating fresh, as desserts, and for cooking and freezing.
• Semi-freestone—Flesh is a little harder to separate from the pit. These are also good for eating fresh, as desserts, and for cooking and freezing.
Peach Nutrition Facts
• Good source of vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in low light. It also helps maintain healthy skin, bones, and teeth.
• Excellent source of vitamin C, which promotes healing and helps the body absorb iron.
• A medium (2.66-inch diameter) peach provides 59 calories, 2 grams fiber and is naturally fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free.
When Buying Peaches
• Choose peaches with a strong, sweet smell.
• Look for skins that show a background color of yellow or warm cream. Avoid fruit with green around the stem (they aren’t fully ripe) or that have shriveled skin (they’re old). A red blush is not a reliable indicator of ripeness.
When Storing Peaches
• Keep them on a counter at room temperature until they are the ripeness you prefer.
• When ripe, move the peaches to the crisper bin of your refrigerator.
When Cooking with Peaches
• If a recipe calls for peeled peaches, dip peaches into boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunge them immediately into ice water. The skins will slip right off.
• If peeling or cutting up peaches for a recipe, keep them from turning brown by sprinkling with lemon or orange juice.
• If you have more peaches on hand than you can eat or bake up right away, consider freezing, canning, or making extra into a fruit spread. The following Extension and Outreach publications may be useful:
o Canning—Fruits (PM 1043) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1043
o Freezing—Fruits and Vegetables (PM 1045) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1045
o Canning—Fruit Spreads (PM 1366) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1366