Here are Peach Basic Essentials: How to pick, store, and cook healthy, oil-free vegan recipes. When to choose organic. Plus, nutrition information on this delicious, healthy antioxidant-rich fruit.
Quick Reference Pin:
- Peaches grown in the Southern US states (Georgia, South Carolina, Florida) are in season May to early August. In the northern states (Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey), the season is a bit later, July to September. Outside of these months, Chile is one of the biggest importers for US peaches.
- Dried and Frozen: When it isn't summer, enjoy frozen and dried peaches. Frozen peaches are picked and packaged right at the peak of the season. They have incredible flavor and are often more budget-friendly than fresh peaches. Use for jam, pie filling, baking, and smoothies. Dried peaches can be added to granola, cookies, and oatmeal for bursts of sweetness.
- Your Nose Knows: The best way to pick a ripe peach is to smell it. Close your eyes, put your nose right on the peach and inhale. You should smell sweet, honey-like aromas.
- Plump, Slightly Firm, Press-able: Peaches should be plump and slightly firm. They should give slightly when pressed with a finger. Avoid peaches that are too mushy, moldy, or have bruises.
- Organics Matter: Peaches and nectarines are highly prized by bugs, birds, and insects so conventional varieties are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Since peaches have a thin, edible skin they soak up these chemicals and it's hard to wash off. Because of this, they are at the top of the DIRTY DOZEN list. Organic peaches also taste so much better. It's a little pricier, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you buy organic
- Clingstone, Freestone, and "Fuzzless": There are over 100 varieties of peaches, but there are 3 main differentiations.
- Clingstone peaches refers to varieties where the pit "clings" to the inner flesh. These are great for snacking
- Freestone peaches have a "free" pit a that easily pops out. These are the easiest to work with for slicing, dicing, or halving peaches, like for grilled peaches or for baking.
- Fuzzless peaches, aka nectarines, have a smooth, fuzz-free skin. This are ideal for eaters who might be turned off by the fuzzy texture of other peaches. Kids especially might prefer fuzz-free nectarines.
- Sublime Donut and White Peaches: For unreal sweetness, try heirloom Donut and White Peaches. You can find these for a limited time at farmer's markets and specialty grocers during the summer. These fragile peaches are oozing with natural sweetness that will blow your mind.
- Cool and dry: Store ripe peaches in a cool, dry location. A well-ventilated fruit bin in your refrigerator is fine. Just be careful not to let them get crushed by heavier fruits like apples and oranges.
- How to Ripen: If you get peaches that aren't quite ripe, place them in a brown paper bag and leave on the counter for 1-3 days, until ripe. Then eat or refrigerate until ready to eat.
- Eat within a week: Keep ripe peaches refrigerated and eat within 5-7 days.
How to Clean and Cook:
- How to Clean: Simply wash peaches under running water.
- To Remove the Pit: Use the same technique you would for an avocado. Follow the natural crease of a peach and slice all the way around the fruit. A freestone peach will then easily twist open and you can pop out the stone. For a clingstone peach, you might need to use a small paring knife to cut around the stone and remove it.
- How to Cook: Enjoy fresh peaches for easy, healthy snacking. Use peaches in a Peach Cobbler, make Peach Jam, or use in Vegan Banana "Nice" Cream. Add to diced peaches to muffins, pancakes, or Peach Pecan Oatmeal. Grill or broil large pieces for fancy desserts or a sweet touch to salads.
Nutrition (help from Medical News Today)
- Low Calorie:
- One medium peach = about 50 calories
- One large peach = 70 calories
- Fat Free, Cholesterol Free, Low Sodium
- Very Good Source of: Vitamin C
- Good Source of: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Niacin and Potassium
- Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Polyphenols in Peaches:
- Vitamin C: Natural antioxidant helps fight free radicals that cause cancer
- 4 Major Phenolic Groups in stone fruits: anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetins and catechins - all help combat obesity
- Also linked to improved skin health, eye health, and fighting type-2 Diabetes