Health Benefits of Peaches
Peaches are sweet and surprisingly low in calories. A medium-sized peach has only about 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates, making them an excellent snack for those with diabetes, or anyone looking to lose weight or up fiber intake in a pleasurable way. Peaches are a powerhouse of vitamins, particularly vitamins A, C, and the B vitamin Niacin.
Choosing a peach variety
Each variety of peaches has subtle but important differences when selecting them for different uses. In particular pay attention to these four terms when selecting peaches.
Freestone: The pit or “stone” can easily and cleanly be pulled free from the flesh, and is an important factor if you intend to do a lot of canning or chopping where cutting around the pit requires additional effort.
Clingstone: The pit or “stone” is attached to the flesh and you need to scrape with your teeth or cut around it to get all that peachy goodness. Many varieties are slightly clingstone when not fully ripe, and others are partially clingstone like Redhaven and Early Redhaven. The opposite of clingstone is refereed to as "freestone."
Melting: This term refers to the texture of the flesh, as “melting” peaches are buttery smooth in texture but also tend to slice raggedly, tear easily, and melt into nothing when cooked. Try White Peaches, Suncrest, and Redhaven.
Non-melting: These peaches are your best bet for pies, jams, jellies, fancy grilled peach sandwiches, or canned peach halves to add to your skinny yogurt cups in winter. Try Cresthaven, Glohaven, or Fairhaven.
Selecting and Storing Peaches
Select peaches with a delightful, fragrant tropical aroma. The skin around the stem should be completely yellow or red, with no trace of green, feel like velvet, and have a slight sponginess when pressed with your thumb. Peaches are exceedingly fragile and bruise easily, so avoid fruits with soft spots, depressions, and obvious bruising.
Store peaches unwashed either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. You can eat them chilled, but their floral flavor and sweet summer aroma is best expressed when allowed to sit for 30 minutes or so at room temperature. Some peach varieties, like Cresthaven, can have a bitter-tasting red flesh around the pit, and some recipes suggest cutting this area out.
You can prevent browning by dipping sliced peaches into a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Toggle your mouse over any of the varieties of peaches below to learn its name, and click on the picture of each peach to learn more information specific to that variety!
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