Peaches (Prunus persica)
Varieties: Donut & Yellow Flesh
Samascott Orchards, Kinderhook NY
Harvesting date: August 2013
More than 80 chemical compounds contribute to the peach aroma.
Peaches are native to China and took many centuries to spread from Greece (300 BC) to North America (16th century). Today there are more than 300 varieties grown in North America alone.
Peach trees grow well in climates where winters are mild and summers are hot. The trees are deciduous and produce flowers in early spring before the leaves. A typical peach cultivar begins bearing fruit in its third year and has a lifespan of about 12 years.
Even though the grocery store treats them as different fruits, peaches and nectarines are the same species. Nectarines have an orange center and faint fuzz, while peaches have white centers and very fuzzy skin. Cultivated peach varieties include White Flesh, Clingstone (flesh clings to pit; softer, sweeter and juicier than Freestone; great for baking), Freestone (flesh doesn’t cling to pit; larger and good for eating out of your hand), Semi-Freestone (a hybrid of Clingstone and Freestone), and Donut (an heirloom variety; flat, white-fleshed, and low in acid).
Peaches are sweet and - depending on the variety - can have an acidy tang.
Like other stone fruits, peaches have a juicy, fleshy exterior with a hard pit inside, and a smaller seed inside the pit. Most of us are accustomed to yellow flesh peaches, which like their name have a golden yellowish skin and yellow flesh. The flesh is very delicate and can bruise easily.
As a late-summer fruit, peaches are great on the grill, in drinks, on salads or as ice cream. Also, you can preserve them to capture that sweet, summer taste for a treat in the middle of winter.
Peach & Blueberry Crostata (Liz Beals of Beth’s Farm Kitchen)
Honey-Sweetened White Peach Jam (Food52)
Peach Gnocchi (101 Cookbooks)
Bourbon Peach Hand Pies (Smitten Kitchen)
Peach Salsa (the Kitchn)
Peach Crumble (Martha Stewart)
Roasted Peach Salad (Tasting Table)
Peach & Pesto Crostini (Love & Lemons)
Love peaches too? Share your favorite recipes in the comments.