Peaches

What are the differences between “Cling,” “Semi Freestone” and “Freestone” peaches?

Cling peaches, such as Babygold, will not pull away from the seed even when ripe. A Semi Freestone peach, such as a Redhaven or a Bellaire, will pull away from the seed only when ripe. Freestone peaches, such as Fayette and Cresthaven, will pull away from the seed even when firm.

What ever happened to Elberta and Belle of Georgia peaches?

Many of us remember how great the Elberta peach was when it was in season only two weeks of the year; and there was no cold storage; and we got them fresh by going straight to the farm. From year to year we looked forward to those two special weeks in August. At that time, Belle of Georgia was everyone’s favorite white peach. Over the course of time, newer varieties were developed which have better taste, appearance and handling qualities. As these varieties gained in popularity, the Elberta and the Belle of Georgia became “peaches of the past.”

How Should I Choose Peaches?

Contrary to common myth, newer varieties of peaches tend to have a fuller, sweeter flavor and longer shelf life than varieties of the past, such as Elberta, Belle of Georgia and Hale Haven. Choose peaches which are slightly soft with a yellow background color and a fresh “peachy” aroma. After purchasing peaches, select the ripest peaches to use first, then refrigerate the remainder. The firmer peaches can be easily ripened by allowing them to remain at room temperature for one or two days in a brown paper bag.

How Do I Prepare Peaches?

Peaches are best prepared fresh. Peel and slice only the amount needed for each meal.

Any Tips for Freezing Peaches?

There are several methods for freezing peaches, but this is our family favorite. Select the ripest peaches available. Peel and slice peaches into a large bowl, layering sliced peaches with a light sprinkling of sugar.

This will “draw” the juice from the peaches and make a light syrup. You may want to sprinkle peaches with ascorbic acid (Fruit Fresh) to prevent discoloration of peaches. Allow sliced peaches to “rest” for 20 minutes. Spoon into freezer containers, making sure juice completely covers the peaches and allowing some room for expansion during freezing. It is best to freeze in container sizes which can be consumed in one day.