Peach Picking Tips
If you decide that peach picking is a must on your summer bucket list, we wanted to share a few things you need to know when you come out to pick peaches.
- Look for peaches that are firm to the touch but have a little give. They should be unblemished, free of nicks or bruises, with a warm, fragrant aroma. Mature peaches have a well-defined cleft and a soft glow. Avoid peaches that with any sign of green; they are not fully ripe.
- Press lightly on the peach before picking it. Pick peaches that give slightly when pressed; overly firm fruit isn’t quite ripe.
- Lift the peach upward and pull gently to separate it from the tree; peaches requiring a hard pull to pick aren’t fully ripe.
- Be careful when picking your peaches because some varieties bruise very easily.
Apple Holler’s Peach Varieties
Flaming Fury (Clingstone) ripens early to mid-July. Mostly red skin, non-browning with a mild flavor. It is juicy and sweet with minimal split pits.
Desiree (Semi-Freestone) ripens mid-July. This well-flavored peach is medium-sized and is colored crimson red over yellow-red with firm yellow flesh.
Harrow Diamond (Freestone) ripens late July. Yellow skinned peach covered with a red blush. Its yellow flesh is non-browning, juicy, and sweet; good for eating fresh, canning, or freezing.
Early Star (Semi-Freestone) ripens late July. The fruit is medium in size with good color and firmness.
GlenGlo (Semi-Freestone) The fruit is large, very firm, and freestone when tree-ripened.
Eight Ball (Freestone) The fruit is highly colored, almost completely red and good size
Bright Star (Semi-Freestone) ripens late July. It is a good early eating peach, with great flavors, good color, and firmness. It has very few split pits.
Sentry (Semi-Freestone) ripens mid-July. This big flavored large peach is firm and attractive with sweet yellow flesh.
Red Haven (Freestone) ripens late July. This red over yellow fruit is a popular peach with a long shelf life. This is a great peach for all your canning recipes.
Peach Stone Types
Peaches are categorized based on the relationship between the pit and the peach flesh. In other words, how well the flesh attaches to the pit. So, we have clingstone peaches, freestone peaches, and even semi-freestone peaches. All three can be found as white or yellow peaches. So, what is the difference between clingstone and freestone? And, what are semi-freestone peaches?
Clingstone vs Freestone The difference between clingstone and freestone peaches is very simple. You will definitely know if you are cutting into a clingstone peach. The pit (endocarp) will cling stubbornly to the flesh (mesocarp) of the peach.
Conversely, freestone peach pits are easy to remove. In fact, when a freestone peach is cut in half, the pit will fall freely from the fruit as you upend the half. Not so with clingstone peaches; you basically have to pry the pit out from the flesh, or cut or nibble around it.
Clingstone peaches are the first variety to be harvested in July through August. The flesh is yellow with splashes of red as it gets closer to the pit or stone. Clingstones are sweet, juicy, and soft — perfect for desserts and preferred for canning and preserves. This type of peach is often found canned in syrup in the supermarket rather than fresh
Freestone peaches are most often eaten fresh, simply because the pit is easily removed. This variety of peach is ripe around late July through August. You are more likely to find these available freshest at your local market rather than clingstone varieties. They are a little bit larger than clingstones, firmer as well, but less sweet and juicy. Still, they are delicious for canning and baking purposes.
What are Semi-Freestone Peaches? The third type of peach stone fruit is called semi-freestone. Semi-freestone peaches are a newer, hybridized variety of peach, a combination of clingstone and freestone peaches. By the time the fruit has ripened, it has become primarily freestone, and the pit should be fairly easy to remove. It is a good general-purpose peach, adequate for both eating fresh as well as canning or baking with.