Peaches are a most fascinating fruit, and you probably didn’t even know it. They are a variety of “stone fruit.” Their seeds are nestled inside of a strong protective outer shell, which we know as the pit. Apricots, plums, and cherries all fall into the stone fruit category.
Did you know peaches were originally from China? Many religions have a tree of life or knowledge, and the Chinese were no different. They thought the peach was the fruit of the gods. Here are a few more tidbits of information you might want to know if peaches are your favorite fruit!
- You might think peaches will ripen once picked, but in reality the innards soften only because of a combination of enzymes and bacteria. Ripening usually improves the flavor of a fruit, which is why a softer peaches won’t taste any better than the rock-hard stone you purchased from the grocery store produce section even after the enzymes have worked their magic.
- If you like sweeter fruits, look for “clingstone” peaches. The name derives from the fact that the flesh of the peach “clings” to the pit. This variety is usually softer, sweeter, and juicier, which makes them good for everything from snacking to baking. Their skin is a lot yellower than the peaches at the grocery store, so you might struggle to find them.
- There are dozens of varieties in the peach family, and you’ll need to know the exact type of peach if interested in finding the perfect peach for eating, canning, or preserving. Season and weather both play a role in how and when peaches ripen, so the best way to know how to approach these tasks is to contact the farm growing the peach you want. Canning farm fresh peaches is the best way to ensure you have this delicious fruit year-round. Different peaches also have different chilling requirements, so keep that in mind.
- The four states that grow the most peaches are Georgia, California, New Jersey, and South Carolina according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Notably, Georgia sells most of its peaches without processing, meaning you’ll find them fresher than others. In fact, the largest peach cobbler in the world is put together at Georgia’s annual Peach Festival in Fort Valley. Yum!
- You can do more than can or preserve peaches. You can even make a “butter” from the fruit, or pickle them!