August is National Peach Month, and what better way to celebrate than with some deliciously sweet peach recipes and a handful of vine-ripened facts?
- The fuzzy peach is actually a member of the rose family and originated in China.
- You can buy two main varieties of peaches: clingstone (the flesh sticks to the stone) and freestone (the stone is easily separated from the flesh).
- You can ripen peaches by placing them in a brown paper bag for two to three days. Sliced, fresh peaches should be tossed in lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.
- The juice from peaches makes a great moisturizer, and it can be found in many brands of cosmetics.
- The term, “you’re a real peach” originated from the tradition of giving a peach to the friend you liked.
- There are over 700 varieties of peaches. Some Chinese varieties are even flat like hockey pucks.
- The World’s Largest Peach is located in Gaffney, South Carolina, and weighs over 10,000 pounds. The city of Gaffney, near Greenville, built this water tower in the shape of a peach back in 1981.
- China is the largest producer of peaches, followed by Italy.
- A large peach has fewer than 70 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C.
- The World’s Largest Peach Cobbler is made every year in Georgia, which is known as the Peach State. That cobbler measures 11 feet by 5 feet.
- Peaches are best from June to the end of August.
If you’re planning on picking
Here are some tips on determining if a peach is ripe:
When it is attached to the tree … Peaches are best picked when the fruit separates easily from the twigs. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it isn’t ripe. Peaches will not ripen further once removed from the tree.
Consider its color … Green is definitely unripe, but you can’t use red color as an indicator of how ripe a peach is. Different peach varieties have differing amounts of red blush in their natural coloring. Pick them when the ground color changes from green to yellow, orange, red (or a combination). The skin of yellow-fleshed varieties ripens to an orange tint, while the skin of white-fleshed varieties changes from greenish- to yellow-white.
Feel how soft it is … Unless you like your peaches very firm, pick your peaches with just a little give when gently pressed. Peaches at this stage are great for eating, freezing and baking.
Smell the fruit … It should smell sweet.
If you’re baking
How do the peaches measure up? Here’s a quick estimation of peach measurements you can use when baking that delicious peach cobbler:
About 2 medium peaches = 1 cup sliced peaches
About 4 medium peaches = 1 cup pureed peaches
About 3 medium peaches = 1 pound of peaches
Here are some of our favorite peach recipes: