Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Peaches

HYG-5525
Family and Consumer Sciences
Date: 
07/30/2021
Revised 2021: Abigail Snyder, Food Safety Field Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Revised 2010: Julie Kennel Shertzer, Program Specialist, Human Nutrition
Original reviewer: Lydia C. Medeiros, PhD, RD, Specialist, The Ohio State University Extension, and Richard C. Funt, Specialist, The Ohio State University Extension
Original author: Barbara H. Drake, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Though Ohio is not considered a major peach growing state, it has about 1,000 acres of peach orchards with the majority of the trees being Red Haven cultivars. Except for a few, the different types of peaches are not easy to distinguish among the many varieties.

For information on peach varieties in Ohio, contact your county educator in agriculture and natural resources at Ohio State University Extension, or a master gardener volunteer.

Selection

  • The reddish coloration on a peach is not a sure sign it has been picked at its prime. Instead, look at the under color, which should be a deep yellow or creamy white. If the under color is green, it indicates immaturity. Two halves of a cut peach in front of two whole peaches and a few peach tree leaves.
  • Peaches should be firm but never hard to the touch. Peaches that are hard and green are immature and will never ripen properly. A mature peach will yield to gentle hand pressure.
  • Select peaches that have a sweet fragrance.
  • Never squeeze a peach—it will easily bruise.
  • Over-ripe, bruised, or wrinkled peaches will quickly decay.

Yield

Due to many variables such as moisture content, size, and variety, it is difficult to give specific recommendations. The recommendations below are approximations.

  • 1 bushel = 48 to 50 pounds
  • 1 pound = 3 or 4 medium-sized peaches
  • 1 pound = 2 to 3 cups sliced

Nutrition

The Dietary Guideline for Americans recommends 2 cups of fruits per day as part of a healthy diet. Peaches are an excellent way to meet this nutritional requirement:

  • A medium-sized peach has about 60 calories.
  • Most peach calories come from naturally derived sugars.
  • Peaches provide vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.

Storage

  • The best way to ripen peaches is to place them in a single layer in a loosely closed paper bag or ripening dish at room temperature for one or two days.
  • Never stack peaches on top of each other—it bruises the peaches on the bottom.
  • Ripe peaches can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Take peaches out of the refrigerator for about an hour before consumption. Allowing the peach to come to room temperature enhances the flavor.
  • Rinse peaches just before eating with cool, running water. Do not use soap, detergent, or bleach because these liquids absorb into the fruit.
  • If your recipe calls for skinned peaches, dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, plunge into cold water, drain, and slip off the skins. Use immediately or toss with citrus juice or a commercial ascorbic acid mixture to prevent darkening of the peach flesh. Place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until ready for use.

Serving Ideas

  • For a delicious meat accompaniment, try grilled peaches. Roll 4 peeled, fresh peaches in a mixture of ⅓ cup brown sugar and ½ teaspoon ginger. Grill until sugar caramelizes. Trays displaying harvested peaches.
  • Slice peaches onto waffles or mix crushed peaches with maple syrup and serve over pancakes or waffles.
  • Mash a ripe peach (¼ cup puree) into ¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt for a low-calorie dessert or snack. A non-caloric sugar substitute may be used to sweeten the snack.
  • Try mixing peaches with ice cream, frozen yogurt, or cottage cheese.
  • Peaches are suitable for a variety of baked goods, such as pies, cobblers, muffins, and crisps.
  • Make peach-apple salsa using the directions on the HYG-5339 fact sheet, “Salsa: From Garden to Table.”

Peach Crisp

Yield: 6–8 servings
Time: Approximately 1 hour

Filling Ingredients

  • 5 cups sliced, fresh-peeled peaches 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Topping Ingredients

  • ½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Cooking Instructions

  1. Toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. 
  2. Place in a 2-quart shallow, greased, baking dish. 
  3. Combine oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. 
  4. Cut and add butter or margarine until small particles are formed. 
  5. Sprinkle topping onto peach mixture. 
  6. Bake 45 minutes in a 350 F oven.

For information on preserving peaches, go to ohioline.osu.edu, or contact your local Ohio State University Extension office for the following fact sheets:

References

FoodData Central. n.d. U.S. Department of Agriculture (website), accessed July 29, 2021. fdc.nal.usda.gov.

National Center for Home Food Preservation. n.d. University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences (website). Accessed July 29, 2021. nchfp.uga.edu.