California Peaches

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California leads the nation clingstone and freestone peaches,

Peaches, Clingstone 100% U.S. produces 230,000 acres produced; 432.0 140,368
Peaches, Freestone 1 54 27.0 385.0 148,728 May 10-Sept. 15 Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Stanislaus, Merced
Peaches, All 1 71 50.0 817.0 289,096 21 24 Fresno, Tulare, Stanislaus, Sutter, Kings

Peaches are generally classified into one of two categories: freestone or clingstone, although some are also considered semi-freestone. Freestone peaches, the ones more commonly available, are those whose pits are easily removed, whereas the pit of clingstones is enmeshed within the flesh. Both freestone and clingstone peaches have numerous varieties that differ in skin color, flesh color, firmness, and juiciness. Two of the most popular varieties of yellowfleshed freestone peaches are Elegant Lady and OHenry. Other varieties include the Hale, RioOso Gem and Elberta

Fresh Peach Shortcake
4 cups all-purpose flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 eggs
about 1 1/4 cups milk
softened butter
4 to 6 cups peeled and sliced fresh
peaches, sweetened to taste.
Cream
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening to form coarse crumbs. Beat eggs and transfer to glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to measure 1 1/2 cups. Blend into flour mixture. Press half of dough onto bottom of 13 x 9 inc pan. Lightly spread with softened butter. Top with other half of dough, pressing into pan or first rolling out onto well flowered surface. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. While warm, cut into squares, top with sliced sweetened peaches and cream. Serve immediately. Serves 8.
Peaches are related to other deciduous flowering fruit trees,
including plum, cherry, apricot and almond. Although originally
grown only in moderate climates, the many new varieties make it
possible for peaches to be grown throughout much of the United
States. An 8 to 10 year old tree can produce up to 6 bushels of
fruit annually.

Peaches are round to oblong with a slight tip. Because of the hard seed, or stone at their core, they are known as a stone fruit or drupe. The fuzzy skin of peaches is the only characteristic that distinguishes them in appearance from the smooth-skinned nectarine. Ripe peaches can assume a rang of colors from creamy-white to light pink, yellow, orange, and red. The flesh also can range from a pinkish white to an intense yellow-gold. The firmness and juiciness of a peach depends largely on the variety and on the degree of ripeness. Nutrient Content Peaches are a tasty treat with modest calories, a good source of potassium, vitamins A & C, low sodium, and no saturated fat. Peaches are a healthful snack and a smart, low calorie way to end a meal.

As of 2012, peaches are commercially produced in 23 states. The top four states in peach production are California, South Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey. California is a significant producer of both fresh and processed peaches, while South Carolina and Georgia mainly produce fresh peaches. In 2012 California continued to be the dominant peach-producing state, accounting for nearly 74% of peach production and supplying nearly 51 percent of the fresh peach crop and more than 97 percent of processing peaches.

In 2010 California was the dominant peach-producing state, accounting for 72% of peach production and supplying nearly 50% of the fresh peach crop and more than 96% of processing peaches.

Roughly 80% of processed peaches are canned and 16% are frozen. Processed peaches may also be dried, prepared as baby food and concentrated for fruit juice.

California clingstone peaches are available from mid-July to mid-September, while the California freestone varieties are harvested from April through October. The Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina provide fresh market peaches from May through July, and the peach-producing Northern states harvest from July through September. In addition, development of early season varieties with low-chill hour growing requirements has led to establishment of new orchards in central and south Florida.

The bearing acreage of peach trees has been declining since 1998; by 2010 the United States had 117,630 acres of peach trees in production. That year's peach crop was estimated at 1.2 million tons, up 5% from the previous year, and valued at $614.6 million. Of that quantity, more than 567,000 tons were sold as fresh produce and more than 564,000 tons were processed. Typically, the majority of processed peaches are canned (428,470 tons), while the rest are either frozen (104,400 tons) or dried (12,700 tons).

The top producer of peaches is typically China, followed by the European Union (EU) and the United States. Chinese peach production increased in 2010, reaching 10.0 million metric tons (MT), as did the EU's production, which dropped to 3.8 million MT. China and the EU produce more peaches destined for fresh domestic consumption than for processing.

History
Cultivation of peaches (Prunus persica) began in China as early as 2000 B.C. By 300 B.C. Greeks and Persians were enjoying peaches. In the first century A.D., Romans began cultivating peaches. From Italy, the cultivation of peaches spread throughout Europe and to the Americas, where the early settlers planted them all along the eastern coast. By the mid-1700s, peaches were so plentiful in the United States that botanists thought of them as native fruits.

If you love apricots, you'll also want to check out California apricots, California apples and California almonds.

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