General Information: The peach has been cultivated in China for over 6,000 years. Today, peaches are grown throughout the world, with China still leading the way in terms of production. Other important producers are Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and the USA. There are two classifications of peaches: freestone (in which the pit falls away from the flesh quite easily) and clingstone (the fruit adheres stubbornly to the pit). Clingstone varieties usually appear on the market earlier in the season than freestones, and they are more commonly used in industrial production. Peach varieties vary in color from white to yellow to a red-orange. The flesh also varies from white to pinkish-white to yellow. White fleshed peaches generally have a more intensive flavor than yellow peaches, however, the yellow variety has more nutritional value. One variety certainly worth looking for in the late summer is the French Red Wine Mountain (Roter Weinbergpfirsich), which has a deep red flesh similar to the blood orange. This variety is less sweet, but excellent for use in sauces, or simply to shock the eyes!

Season: June – September

Purchasing Tips: Look for fruit that is intensely fragrant, and gives slightly when pressed. Avoid those with bruises or blemishes, or with any greenish hues. To ripen under ripe peaches, place them in a paper bag, poke a few holes in the bag, and leave at room temperature for several days. Adding an apple to the bag will speed the process if you are in a hurry. Peaches from later in the season will have a significantly better flavor than those from earlier in the summer.

Storage: Refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before eating.

Cooking Tips: Excellent raw, as an ingredient in a salad, or combined with fish.

Nutritional Info: Excellent source of Vitamin B (niacin), magnesium, and zinc (yellow varieties have a high quantity of carotene in the skin)

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