Peaches supply some beta-carotene (especially the darker-fleshed varieties) and vitamin C. They also supply boron and a fair amount of fibre, about half of it soluble.


Peaches do not get any sweeter after they have been picked, although the fruit will become softer and juicier as it matures. Look for peaches with skins that show a background colour of yellow or warm cream, the amount of pink or red "blush" on their cheeks depends on the variety and it is not a reliable indicator of ripeness. Undertones of green, however, indicate the peaches were picked too soon and will not be sweet. Look for plump, medium to large peaches with unwrinkled skins. Choose fruits that are mildly fragrant.

Avoid rock-hard peaches and choose those that yield slightly to pressure along the "seam," even if they may otherwise be fairly firm. Peaches at this stage of ripeness will soften if kept at room temperature for a few days.

If you purchase firm peaches, leave them at room temperature for a few days to soften or place them in a paper bag to encourage the process. Store ripe peaches in the refrigerator if you are not going to eat them within a day. They should keep for three to five days, but check them every day to be sure they're still in good condition.

Serve peaches chilled or at room temperature; the sweet flavour and fragrance are more pronounced at room temperature. Wash peaches well before eating or cooking them.

When eating a peach raw, there's no need to peel it, peaches that you intend to cook should be peeled first. To loosen the skin for easier peeling, drop peaches into a pot of boiling water; remove them after 30 seconds to one minute and immediately immerse in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the peel, using your fingers or a table knife. Peeled or cut peaches will turn brown if exposed to air, so rub peeled fruit with lemon or orange juice or dip slices into the fruit juice.