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Peach Fact Sheet - All About Peaches

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Peaches

© 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

About Peaches:

Although its botanical name suggests the peach is native to Persia, it actually originated in China where it has been cultivated since the early days of Chinese culture. United States farmers did not begin commercial production until the nineteenth century in Maryland, Delaware, Georgia and finally Virginia. Although the Southern states lead in commercial production of peaches, they are also grown in California, Michigan, and Colorado. Today, peaches are the second largest commercial fruit crop in the States, second only to apples. Italy, China and Greece are major producers of peaches outside of the United States.

Peach Botanical Name:

Prunus persica. Its English name derives from the Latin plural of persicum malum, meaning Persian apple. In Middle English, it melded into peche, much closer to what we call it today.

Common and Other Names:

persian apple, perske, bukuroshe, mertxika, préssec, breskva, broskev, fersken, perzik, virsik, melokoton, persikka, pêche, pexego, pfirsich, pèch, őszibarack, ferskja, persik, pesca, persici, persikas, brzoskwinia, pêssego, piersic, broskyňa, breskev, melocotón, şeftali, eirin gwlanog,

Peach Varieties:

Out of the hundreds of varieties of peaches, each can be classified as clingstone, freestone, or semi-freestone. In general, most peaches are classified by how firmly the flesh attaches to the pit. Peach Varieties in Depth

Peach Availability / Season:

July and August are peak season for fresh peaches in North America. Peaches are also available canned, dried, and frozen.

Peach Selection:

Choose peaches that are firm to the touch, but whose flesh will yield with gentle pressure. The fruits should be unblemished and free of bruises, with a warm, fragrant aroma. A good indicator of maturity is a well-defined cleft in the shape of the peach. Avoid those with any hint of green as they will never fully ripen. Although peaches will continue to ripen after being picked from the tree, the sugar production ceases once plucked and will not increase even though the fruit may soften. More About Choosing Peaches

Peach Storage:

When storing fresh peaches at room temperature, be sure there is enough space between them to allow proper air circulation and use within a few days. Refrigeration will extend their life, but not by more than a day or two. Peaches need humidity, so refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within 2 days. Peaches frozen in a sugar pack result in a better product than those frozen in plain water. puree or chop the fruit, add an acidic juice to keep the fruit from darkening, and freeze in a tightly-sealed container or plastic zip-top bag with air removed. Slices and halves can also be dehydrated. More About Peach Storage

Peach Tips and Hints:

If the fruits are overly ripe, puree or chop the fruit, add an acidic juice to keep the fruit from darkening, and freeze in a tightly-sealed container or plastic zip-top bag with air removed. Although the fuzzy skin is perfectly edible, it becomes tough when cooked. To remove the skin, blanch in boiling water for one minute and then immediately plunge into cold water to cease the cooking process. The skin should easily slip off. Do not let them soak in the water. Nectarines, apricots, plums, pluots, cherries, or mango may be substituted for peaches in equal measure in most recipes. More Peach Tips

Sample Peach Recipes:

Peach Description:

The peach is a member of the rose family, cousin to apricots, cherries, plums, and almonds. Nectarines are actually a fuzz-less, smaller variety of peach. Nectarines and peaches can develop spontaneously from each other via seed or sport bud. The fuzzy peach is most closely identified with the deep South, particularly Georgia. Its juicy, sweet, fragrant flesh is a favorite in pies, pastries, and desserts, but creative chefs have found marvelous uses for the peach in a variety of savory dishes, including poultry, pork, and seafood.

Although the fuzzy skin is perfectly edible, it becomes tough when cooked. To remove the skin, blanch in boiling water for one minute and then immediately plunge into cold water to cease the cooking process. The skin should easily slip off. Do not let them soak in the water.
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