No fruit offers a truer taste of summer than a perfectly ripe peach.
Peaches are part of the family known as stone fruits, referring to the pit in each fruit. There are hundreds of peach varieties, varying in color, flavor, shape and texture. Commercial orchards generally grow a number of varieties so that each matures at a different time. Peaches have a very short harvest window — 7 to 10 days — which is why you see so many different varieties for sale over the course of the summer. Peaches are available in most parts of the US from May through October, but their peak season is July and August.
A peach's sweetness varies considerably depending on the variety. In general, yellow peaches have a higher acid content, which gives them a hint of tartness. White peaches, on the other hand, have very low acid and taste extraordinarily sweet. Likewise, donut or Saturn peaches — a relative newcomer characterized by their small size and squashed or flattened shape — are also very sweet and low in acid.
Why choose organic peaches?
- Peaches are #5 on the Environmental Working Group's “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” a list of produce that carries the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally. You can lower your dietary exposure to pesticides substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, and choosing organic for those items instead.
- At Earthbound Farm, we grow our organic peaches without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think organic peaches taste better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for fruit like peaches and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store peaches
- Peaches only ripen on the tree, so if they’re picked prematurely, they’'ll never develop a proper flavor and sweetness. Mature peaches smell like...well, peaches, when sniffed at the stem end. If there is no sweet, fragrant aroma, chances are the peach will not be memorable.
- Look for fruit with smooth, unbruised skin, with no hint of green tints. If a peach is bruised or has soft spots, it will go bad very quickly, and green areas indicate the fruit was picked too early.
- If your peaches are underripe, place them in a paper bag with an apple, and punch a few air holes in the bag. Leave the peaches at room temperature for a few days. Peaches are ripe when they give slightly to gentle pressure. White flesh peaches, however, are an exception to this rule: they are at their peak of flavor and texture when still a bit firm.
- Once ripe, should be eaten right away or stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag.
Tip for using peaches
- Peaches have the best flavor at room temperature, so let them warm up if they've been chilled.