A sweet juicy fruit that has skin that ranges from white to rich yellow to reddish brown and flesh that ranges from yellow to deep gold and red. The skins have a soft, fuzzy surface and the fruit contains a large pit in the middle. Most often peaches are sold not by variety but by the color of their flesh: white, yellow or red. A white peach has a very similar flavor to the yellow peach, just a different color of flesh, while the red-fleshed peach is tarter in flavor. There are many different varieties of peaches grown today, all of which are generally classified as clingstone, freestone, or semi-freestone. Clingstones have stones or pits that cling to the flesh of the peach while freestones are easily separated from the flesh. Semi-freestones, which are smaller sized than freestones, are hybrids of the clingstone and freestones, but have a stone that detaches quite easily from the flesh.

How to use: Peaches are a popular fruit used for many purposes, such as in desserts, pies, puddings, cobblers, shortcakes, salads, as breakfast toppings, for canning and to just enjoy eaten fresh out of the hand. Dried peaches are also available in slices, diced pieces and ground. They have a sweet tart flavor and are treated with sulfur dioxide to retain coloring.

At their best: Available May through October. The peak season is July and August.

How to buy: Because peaches spoil easily, it is best to purchase only the quantity that will be consumed in a short time. Select fruit that are fragrant and that give slightly to pressure. Avoid peaches with blemishes, bruises or green coloring.

Storage: Store ripe fruit in a refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before eating to bring out full flavor of the peach. Store unripe peaches at room temperature.

Blood Peach

A peach that is large in size that has a dark red colored skin that surrounds a similar red juicy flesh, which provides a tart flavor. While the blood peach is tarter, the white and yellow-fleshed peaches have similar sweet tasting meat. The blood peach is served fresh or is often used for making chutneys, jams and preserves.

Donut Peach

Peach_donut A variety of white peach that originated in Asia. The name was derived from the appearance, which looks like a cake donut. The peach is approximately 1 to 2 inches in height and 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The outer skin has a pale yellow and red color that covers a white inner flesh that is tender, juicy, and sweet tasting, similar to a nectarine. The peach has a low acid to sugar ratio, so it is sweeter than the orange flesh variety. When selecting donut peaches, seek those that are not too green, but are beginning to show the yellow red coloring.

Indian Blood Peach

Peach_blood_half A variety of fruit that has a dull, dark red outer skin with crimson to red inner flesh. This peach is generally used to make preserves or to color peach ice cream. It is a delicate fruit as it bruises easily. It is referred to as pêches de vigne in France.