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Peaches, a member of the rose family, are a juicy stone fruit with a sweet flavor similar to that of wildflower honey with underlying notes of citrus. Their delicate skin is velvety and yellowish-orange with a ruby blush. Their flesh can be yellow or white with a reddish circle around the pit. Sweetness intensity will increase in peaches as they ripen.


Peaches can be frozen into ice creams, baked into pies, tarts, cobblers, and cooked down for jam and compotes. They can also be pickled to make an excellent condiment for grilled or roasted meats.


Peaches were first cultivated in China, but they were introduced to southern Europe from Persia. They have been grown in this country from the time of the European settlers, and they were adopted and widely planted by Native Americans, as well as colonists. However, many varieties that we think of as heirlooms were developed fairly recently. The Elberta variety, California's quality standard and the most widely planted peach in the U.S., is only 140 years old.

Peaches are divided into two categories, clings and freestone. Cling peaches have firm flesh, do not separate from the pit easily and are almost exclusively used for canning. Freestone peaches have a softer, more delicate flesh and separate easily from the pit.

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