Peaches are at their peak in the Summer, especially July and August, which makes them the perfect summer fruit whether you're biting into one fresh, juice-running-down-your-chin style, or baking into a sweet and simple cobbler for the whole family.
Peaches are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals while being low in fat. Most of the calories in a peach comes from its natural sugars (peaches are one of the sweeter fruits, after all), but peaches have no saturated fats or cholesterol to worry about. They're also a good source of fiber, vitamin-A, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, and potassium, making them good for your skin, muscles, eyes, heart, and digestive health.
So, how to make the most of fresh peaches? These fuzzy-skinned stone fruits are very versatile, but not everyone knows how to pick the best peaches, ripen them, peel them, pit, freeze, can, or grill them. And since there's more than one way to skin a peach (and more than one type of peach, for that matter) peach novices may find they need a little help getting started.
That's why we've put together this and a few other helpful articles to help you get a handle on everything peaches. We simply can't abide the thought of you missing out on these sweet stone fruits! So let's start at the beginning.
Ideally, when you get to the grocery store or farmer's market, you'll have an array of ripe peaches to choose from. When ripe, peaches will give a little (but not too much) when you apply a little pressure with your thumb. But peaches often arrive to the store pre-ripe so that they have a longer shelf life and won't go bad before consumers have a chance to snatch them up.
So if you can only find unripe peaches, or you want to buy your peaches in advance of when you'll actually need them, these 3 Easy Ways To Ripen Peaches will help you get the best flavor and consistency out of your peach purchase.
You don't always have to peel a peach. Peach skins are as edible as the pulp inside, and provide additional fiber and other nutrients. However, if you aren't a fan of the fuzzy texture or want to bake your peaches into a pie, you'll want to know the best way to peel your peach.
As we mentioned above, there's more than one way to skin a peach, and the method you choose will depend on the ripeness of your peaches, the tools available to you, and how you want to use the peaches. Check out these 3 Simple Ways to Peel Peaches for the full run-down.
The quick version: Blanch peaches and dunk in an ice bath, then remove skins by hand. Or remove with a paring knife or vegetable peeler.
You can avoid pitting peaches if you buy them canned, but peaches shine brightest when purchased fresh. Unfortunately, those pits can be tough to remove, and some are tougher than others.
Peaches come in two main types: freestone and clingstone. As their names imply, freestone peaches separate easily from the pit, while clingstone peach pits cling tightly to the pulp surrounding them. While most fresh peaches at your local grocery store will be freestone peaches, it's impossible to tell from the outside whether a peach is freestone or clingstone. Our article on How To Pit Peaches & Other Stone Fruits The Easy Way goes over a few popular varieties in each of these main categories so that you can know before you buy.
But whether you have a freestone or a clingstone peach, a few simple cuts and a little twisting should remove even the more stubborn pits. Get the full instructions here:
The quick version: Make sure your peach is ripe; cut all the way around the peach along the seam; twist each hemisphere in opposite directions and separate; use a knife edge or spoon to gently lift the pit out of the remaining peach half.
Freezing peaches is a great way to store these delicate fruits for later enjoyment. Frozen peaches also make the perfect addition to a morning smoothie! Frozen peaches will keep for at least 6 months and up to 1 year, you you can have delicious peaches all year round.
If you want your peaches to keep for a while without losing flavor or consistency, it's important to freeze peaches the right way. Check out 3 Easy Ways To Freeze Peaches for the details.
Perhaps you'd rather can peaches instead of freezing them? Peaches, like most other fruits, can easily be canned using the boiling water method.
Processing times vary depending on your altitude and whether you're starting with raw peaches or heating them first. You can also choose to pack canned peaches in hot water, juice, or syrup. For all the steps and variations, check out How To Can Peaches.
We're loving the grilled fruit trend that's been popular these recent years, and grilled peaches are especially delicious. Grilling peaches softens them, brings out their juices, and caramelizes their sugars, making this method perfect for deserts, but also a great addition to salads or even cocktails!
For all the peach grilling essentials, take a look at Peach Grilling 101. It also has 14 grilled peach recipes to get you inspired.
The quick version: Choose slightly underripe peaches; lightly brush peach slices or halves with oil, then grill, cut side down, on a gentle, low heat.
Now that you have all the basics down, here are a few of our favorite peach recipe to get started on. Trust us, you need these in your life.
When it comes to cobbler, peaches are king, and it's no mystery why—peaches have just the right taste and consistency for this dessert genre that's half crunchy-chewy butteriness and half melt-in-your-mouth sweetness. This recipe captures everything that's great about the classic peach cobbler.
Peaches go wonderfully with creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsalmic vinegar. This recipe substitutes peaches for tomatoes, but you can also use both alongside each other for a similarly delicious result.
Do you have a favorite peach recipe? Or perhaps there's a question you have about peaches that we didn't cover? Share it with us in the comments, and help us make the world just a little bit peachier.