With the three-month harvest season just around the corner, the Georgia Peach Council is predicting a tasty season for the Peach State”s namesake fruit.
Each year, Georgia produces over 2.6 million cartons, or more than 63 million pounds, of sweet tasting peaches between mid-May and mid-August and expectations are that the 2011 crop will meet or exceed that level.
“This year”s crop, which will hit prime harvesting season in mid-June, looks very promising,”# said Duke Lane III, president of the Georgia Peach Council. “For the best and freshest peaches around, we encourage consumers to ask their grocers for home-grown sweet Georgia peaches.”#
More than 40 varieties of peaches are grown in Georgia and the state”s proximity to major markets throughout the Southeast allows the fruit to be regularly delivered fresh-off-the-tree to grocers all over the region.
Beyond the great taste and natural sweetness, Georgia peaches have many nutritious qualities. They are naturally sodium free and have no cholesterol and a medium-size Georgia peach contains only 38 calories, fewer than comparably sized apples or pears.# Georgia peaches also provide natural plant compounds called flavonoids, which research suggests may help prevent cancer and heart disease; also, their 87 percent water content makes them a perfect between-meal snack.
Tips for Picking, Preserving and Preparing the Perfect Georgia Peach
When shopping for Georgia peaches, follow these tips to pick, preserve and prepare the perfect peach:
- Look for a creamy gold to yellow under-color. This means it”s mature and ready to eat.
- Red doesn”t mean ripe; the red, or “blush”#, skin color is indicative of the peach”s variety rather than ripeness.
- Smell the peach. The peach is a member of the rose family and should have a pleasingly sweet fragrance.
- To accelerate ripening, place peaches in a brown paper bag and close the top, which prevents ripening gases from escaping.
- Only refrigerate peaches after they have fully ripened on your counter.
- To peel a peach, dip it into boiling water for 30 seconds, then in cold water. The peel should slide off easily.
- Add lemon juice to sliced peaches, to prevent them from darkening.