The peach is one of the most prized fruits. Second only in popularity to the apple, the peach has been romanticized since ancient times. Though Ohio is not considered a major peach growing state, peaches are grown in the state and are favorites among its citizens.
A medium sized peach (approximately 3-1/2 oz.) is more than 80% water and contains only 38 calories. Peaches are a fair source of vitamins A and C. You can see why peaches make a great healthy snack!
The reddish “blush” on the peach is not a sure sign the peach has been picked at its prime. Instead, look at the undercolor, which should be a deep yellow or creamy white; green indicates immaturity. Peaches should be firm to the touch and never hard. Peaches that are hard and green are immature and will never ripen properly. A mature peach will yield to gentle hand pressure.
The best way to ripen peaches is to place them single layer in a loosely closed paper bag or ripening dish at room temperature for a day or two. Never “stack” peaches as the bottom ones will bruise. Once ripe, peaches can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. However, do not store unripe peaches in the refrigerator, as it may cause them to turn mealy.
- One pound of fresh peaches will yield between 2-3 cups of sliced fruit.
- For a delicious meat accompaniment, try grilled peaches. Roll four peeled fresh peaches in a mixture of 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ginger. Grill until sugar caramelizes.
- Mash overripe or mealy peaches into a puree that can be used on pancakes, ice cream or in a smoothie.
- For more recipe ideas, visit the Georgia Peach Council, and the South Carolina Peach Council.
For information on preserving peaches, check out these OSU Extension Factsheets on Ohioline:
- Basics of Canning Fruit, HYG-5343
- Freezing Fruits, HYG-5349
- Salsa: From Garden to Table, HYG-5339
- Jams, Jellies and Other Fruit Spreads, HYG-5350