Peach and Nectarine Facts, Picking Tips and Recipes
In the U.S., Peaches typically peak during
late June through July in the South, and July and August in the North. In order to produce
good local peaches, producers depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions,
and no late frosts. If you want to know
which are the best varieties of
peaches for home canning, see this page!
Before you leave to go to the farm:
Always call before you go to the farm - Peaches are affected by weather
(both rain and cooler temperature) more than most crops. And when they are
in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL
early. On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
Most growers furnish picking containers designed
for peaches, but they may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to bring
If you use your own containers, remember that heaping
Peaches more than 14 inches deep will bruise the fruit on the bottom.
Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large
pots make good containers.
Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you'd be surprised how you can
work up a thirst and appetite! And don't forget hats and sunscreen for the
sun. Bugs usually aren't a problem, but some deet might be good to bring
along if it has been rainy.
You might want to ask whether the peaches are! There are two major types of
peaches: "Freestone" and. "Clingstone". Freestone peaches and nectarines
have flesh that slips easily away from the pit. Clingstones are a REAL pain,
because the fruit tenaciously clings to the stone or pit! Most peach
varieties grown today are freestone and are usually available (depending
upon your location) from June through September. Some nectarines are
freestone and some are clingstone. Freestone nectarines are available in
June and July. Most plum varieties are clingstone.
When you get home
Spread the fruit out on towels or newspapers and separate any mushy or
damaged fruit to use immediately.
- Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash and cut the others and
freeze them up!
- Even under ideal conditions peaches will only keep for a week
in a refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, use them as soon as
possible after purchase
- Now, get ready to make Peach jam or canned peaches - It is VERY easy - especially
with our free
- peach jam
instructions - they're illustrated and easy and
our page on
how to make home canned peaches
- Or see here to freeze peaches instead!
- make your own home canned
peach pie filling to use in the winter
- or how about peach salsa?
- Peach chutney
- Spiced peaches
- peach butter or even
- pickled peaches?
- Here are some great and easy
peach desert recipes, like easy
How to tell if the peaches are ripe!
- Attached to the tree: Peaches are best picked when the fruit
separates easily from the twigs. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it isn't
ripe! Peaches will not ripen further once removed from the tree (they only
- Color: Green is definitely unripe,
but you can't use red color as an indicator of how ripe a peach is.
Different peach varieties have differing amounts of red blush in their natural
coloring. Pick them when the ground color changes from
green to yellow, orange, red (or a combination). The skin of yellow-fleshed varieties ripens to an orange tint,
while the skin of white-fleshed varieties changes from greenish- to
- Softness: unless you like
your peaches very firm, pick your peaches with just a little "give" when gently
pressed. Peaches at this stage are great for eating, freezing, and baking.
Peaches won't ripen very much after picking!
- Odor: It should smell sweet and ripe!
Tips on How to Pick Peaches
A peach is softer than most fruit, so it is important to pick a peach gently,
with little pressure. Using the
sides of your fingers rather your fingertips helps to avoid bruising. Grab the peach
firmly and pull it straight off the branch. DON'T drop the peach into the
basket, but set it in gently!
Marks on the Peachs: Bugs (particularly squash bugs and stink bugs) bite fruit during
development and this results in some imperfections in the peach. This is
especially the case with organically raised fruit. These look like dents
in the peaches if the peaches were bitten by a bug when they were young. This
causes a spot that does not grow properly and makes a wrinkle in the peach.
There's nothing wrong with these peaches. They may look funny, but they will
taste just as good as blemish-free peaches, and it's better not to have the
How much do you need?
- About 2 medium peaches = 1 cup sliced peaches.
- About 4 medium peaches = 1 cup pureed peach.
- About 3 medium peaches = 1 pound of peaches
Process yields (Raw amounts to processed amounts)
- 2 to 2˝ pounds of fresh peaches yields 1 quart canned
- 1 lb of fresh peaches typically yields 3 cups of peeled, sliced peaches
or 2 cups or puree.
- It takes about 5 good sizes peaches or nectarines (or
about 10 plums) to fill one quart jar of canned peaches.
- An average of
17˝ pounds of fresh peaches are needed per canner load of 7 quarts;
- An average of 11 pounds is
needed per canner load of 9 pints.
- 1 bushel = 48 to 50 pounds, yields approximately 18 to 25 quart jars.
And a visitor contributes this: 6-7 peaches makes about 4 cups puree, so 2-3
peaches make about 2 cups puree. 1 peach equals about 1 cup puree
Peach pit tips
It's best to remove peach pits before you cook the peaches. Cherry, peach, and apricot pits also contain amygdalin; the latter two, in potentially harmful amounts. Fortunately, peach and apricot pits are sufficiently large and hard that few people intentionally swallow or chew them. (The unapproved anti-cancer drug Laetrile is a semisynthetic derivative of amygdalin; a cheaper version of laetrile produced in Mexico came from crushed apricot pits.)
Delicious and Nutritious
1 medium peach
- peaches are virtually fat free. A medium size peach contains
less than one gram of fat.
- peaches are naturally sodium free.
- peaches have no cholesterol.
- peaches are a low calorie snack. A medium size peach contains
only 40 calories.
- peaches contain vitamin A which helps us see in dim light.
- peaches are considered a good source of fiber. The skin of a
peach provides both roughage and fiber.
Temporary Storage Tips
- Ripe peaches have a creamy or golden undertone and “peachy-sweet”
- Peaches should be refrigerated and used within a few days.
- Putting peaches and nectarines in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature
for a day or two can help soften firm fruit - but they won't become sweeter or
ripen further - that stopped when they were removed from th etree.
- For best flavor, allow the fruit to ripen fully on the tree.
- Store at 33°F to 40°F and high humidity (a vegetable drawer in the
Preserving the fruit
Question: Which is better, to can or freeze peaches?
Answer: In my experience, going back 50 years to my
childhood, when my mother also canned and froze peaches, we both found that
frozen were superior in color and flavor to canned peaches. It all depends upon
whether you have room in your freezer.
- Peach butter
you like apple butter and you like peaches, you'll LOVE this
easy peach butter recipe,
complete with canning instructions, so you can make them now and give them
away at Christmas time!
Substituting Frozen or Canned Peaches for Fresh
In most recipes, frozen or canned peaches can be substituted for fresh
peaches. The frozen and canned peaches have already been sweetened; therefore,
the amount of sugar called for in a recipe will have to be adjusted. Also, the
peaches should usually be drained before using.
For the kids!
How to plant a peach pit (also works with nectarines and apricots). If you save a peach pit you can grow
your own fruit tree.
- Clean the pit and store it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag until
September or October.
- Place the pit about five inches beneath the soil surface.
- In the spring, your tree will start to grow and should be visible by
- Keep the tree watered and fertilized (fruit tree spikes from Lowes, HomeDepot, etc.) and you'll have fruit in 2-3 years!
Home Canning Kits
- Everything you need to get started with waterbath
canning (fruits,pickles, jams, jellies, salsa, sauces
- 21-1/2 qt. enamel water bath canner
- Funnel, jar lifter, lid lifter, bubble freer
- Ball Blue Book
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother
used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and
lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs,
lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel,
labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's
much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids! To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!For more information
and current pricing:
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