Fragrant, juicy, and bursting with flavor, peaches are delectable summertime fruits. This is how to enjoy peak peach season (with pie, obviously), plus why you should be eating peaches on the daily.
Buying Fresh Peaches
The peach is a type of stone fruit that come into season in the summertime across the United States. Typically, peach season is May through September, with peak harvest in July and August.
Find local and organic peaches at a farmers market or grocery store near you. Choose organic peaches when possible, as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that peaches contain the fifth highest amount of pesticide residue (as noted on the 2017 Dirty Dozen list.)
Local peaches tend to be slightly more delicious, as they didn’t have to travel long distances and get bruised and bumped in the process. Not to mention, trucked-in peaches tend to be picked before fully ripe, producing a less-sweet fruit.
When choosing peaches at the market, look for color. Peaches should be vibrant and bright in color without any green spots. The latter usually means the peach was picked too soon off the tree.
Peaches can be either yellow or white, and their flavor differs depending on color. Ben Wenk of Three Spring’s fruit farm in Pennsylvania notes that “yellow peaches are your traditional peach flavor, the white peaches taste like those same yellow peaches dipped in the sugar bowl.”
Be gentle when selecting peaches, Wenk advises. “As you'll see, a delicate squeeze is important in choosing good peaches, but tree ripened peaches are to be handled with the same caution as eggs.” Gently squeeze the peach ever so slightly to sense its stage of ripeness. If the peach is soft and starts to give, the peach is ready to eat. Too soft? Pass on the peach; it is most likely overripe. Skip peaches with wrinkly skin, as they also signify the peach is overripe.
Once purchased, store peaches at room temperature in a single layer to avoid bruising. If a peach starts getting too soft, store in the refrigerator for a day or two before eating. Even better, slice and freeze ripe peaches. Frozen peaches are delicious in smoothies or baked into a crisp, crumble, or oatmeal.
The Health Benefits of Peaches
Peaches are rich in several vitamins and minerals as well as ample fiber (10 percent daily recommended intake) to aid in a healthy digestive system.
One large peach contains roughly 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C, 10 percent RDA vitamin A, 10 percent RDA potassium, as well as good amounts of vitamins E and K, B vitamins, magnesium, and copper.
Peaches also contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as a plethora of beneficial antioxidant compounds. Make sure to eat the fuzzy peach skin, too, as that is where many antioxidants are found.
Peaches have been clinically shown to be anti-cancer, thanks to their high antioxidant levels. A 2014 study showed that the polyphenol antioxidants in peaches, as well as plums, were able to inhibit the growth and metastasis of at least one strain of breast cancer cells. The polyphenols in peaches can even kill cancer cells, without causing healthy cell death, according to another 2014 study.
Peach consumption is also linked to lowered inflammation and oxidative stress, reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, and reduced risk of macular degeneration.
9 Delicious Ways to Savor Peach Season
Peaches are delicious straight from the tree, but are easy to use in the kitchen as well. Here are nine delicious ways to enjoy these sweet fruits all peach season long.
- Grill them and add to a fresh, seasonal peach and beet green salad.
- Bake peaches into pie, crumble, crisp, or a cobbler.
- Roast peaches with maple syrup and top with coconut cream.
- Grill peaches with portobello mushrooms for the most epic grilled peach and portobello burger.
- Slice fresh peaches and top on pancakes, French toast, or waffles.
- Grill peaches and mix up a unique white peach and mint whiskey sour. Cheers!
- Chop up fresh peaches and add to homemade peach and poblano salsa.
- Freeze sliced peaches and make a peach and coconut smoothie.
- Add slices to a delicious sandwich, wrap, or even on top of pizza. Yum!