All you need to know about juicy peaches, including varieties, recipes, plus how to peel & store them. Peach 101!
To say I adore peaches is an understatement. Every summer, when grocery stores and farmer’s markets are brimming with these nectarous fruits, I can’t help but leap for joy.
Peach season is back, and with it, cobblers, pies, cakes, and crumbles. Not only are these pinkish orange beauties delicious, but they’re packed with feel-good nutrients too!
Life is short, and so is peach season! Let’s make the most of this summertime staple, starting with peach varieties and how to use them.
A peach is a round stone fruit with pink, yellow, or orange colored skin surrounding white or yellow flesh. It’s low in acidity and high in natural sugar, which makes it great for snacking and baking!
Clingstone vs. Freestone Peaches
While there are hundreds of different peach varieties, they all fit into two main categories: clingstone and freestone peaches.
Freestone peaches are big and juicy with a pit that easily separates from the flesh. Nearly all peaches sold in grocery stores are freestone peaches.
Clingstone peaches are slightly smaller and sweeter with pits that “cling” to the flesh. These peaches are typically reserved for commercially canned peaches, and your best chance of finding them is at a Farmer’s market.
White vs. Yellow Peaches
What’s the difference? Hint: It’s more than just their color!
A yellow-fleshed peach is more acidic, with a sweet yet tart flavor profile. White-fleshed peaches are predominantly sweet with a delicate, almost floral-like flavor.
White peaches are softer and thus not ideal for baking. They quickly turn to mush in pies and crumbles. Yellow peaches have a slightly firmer flesh and stand up to baking, grilling, and sauteing.
How to peel peaches:
A peach has a thin skin that doesn’t peel like an orange, but there is a simple way to do it! Here’s how to easily peel one peach or a whole bunch of them!
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut a large but shallow x into the bottom of each peach.
- Carefully submerge the peaches into the simmering water and blanch for 30 seconds or so.
- Use a slotted spoon or a spider skimmer to transfer the peaches to a large bowl of ice water.
- Once cool enough to handle, gently pull the skin away from the peach starting from the X.
Don’t blanch the peaches too long, or they will get mushy. They need just long enough to loosen the peel.
How to store peaches:
If you’re like me and can’t seem to make it out of the store with less than ten pounds of peaches, don’t forget to store those beauties properly!
Here’s what to know:
- Fresh, ripe peaches that give slightly when you touch them should be enjoyed immediately.
- Store firm, underripe peaches at room temperature, stem-side down, with room to breathe. Storing them in a single layer prevents bruises and soft spots. Avoid stacking them, no matter how gorgeous it looks.
- If a peach is ripe but you don’t plan to use it immediately, store in the refrigerator a few more days. The cool temperature will slow down the ripening process.
- Avoid storing peaches in the refrigerator for more than a few days or the texture will suffer.
- For extended storage, freeze sliced peaches for smoothies and baking.
How to freeze peaches:
Freeze peaches peeled or unpeeled. Peeled peaches are great for smoothies, and dessert recipes, like peach ice cream.
- If peeling the peaches, follow the step-by-step instructions above.
- Slice the peaches and place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Place the sheet pan in the freezer, and leave it there for at least 4 hours.
- Once the peach slices are frozen, transfer them to an freezer bag and label with the date.
- Use within 6 months for the best results.
How to use peaches:
If you can summon enough strength to resist those juicy peaches long enough to cook or bake with them, these recipe ideas are for you!
- Baking – Peaches taste amazing in pies, crumbles, crisps, and cakes! Try peach upside down mini cakes, or vanilla ice cream with caramelized peaches on top!
- Smoothies – I like to peel and freeze any leftover peaches for refreshing breakfast smoothies. Try pairing them with bananas, strawberries, pineapple, or mango. Add yogurt for extra creaminess.
- Salads – I can’t think of a better way to dress up a summer salad than with peaches! Pair with mixed greens, avocado, sliced red onion, feta, quinoa, dried fruit, and crunchy nuts or granola.
- Sangria – Peaches are the perfect addition to sangria. Try this light and boozy rose sangria with fresh peaches and raspberries.
- Ice Cream – Make them into peach ice cream!
- Savory – Make peach salsa for grilled chicken, peach barbecue sauce, or peach caprese salad.
- Dehydrated Peaches – Dehydrate fresh peaches for an addictive yet nutritious snack!
Yes, peaches are jam-packed with beneficial antioxidants and plant compounds! They offer plenty of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and B vitamins. They may improve digestion and strengthen one’s immune system.
Yes, if you don’t want to blanch the peaches, a vegetable peeler works too. It’s slower than boiling, but it does work. Just don’t apply too much pressure since peaches bruise easily.
Per one medium-sized peach:
- Calories – 60 calories
- Protein – 1 gram
- Fat – Less than 1 gram
- Carbs – 14 grams
- Fiber – 2 grams
- Vitamin C – 17% of the daily value
- Potassium – 8% of the DV