Peaches have been a popular fruit in the South since the Spaniards first brought them to North America. California, Georgia and South Carolina are the largest producers of peaches in the United States.
Peaches can be dried, canned, made into jams, jellies, and preserves, used as filling for desserts, and used as an ingredient in many other dishes, from appetizers to entrees.
When shopping for peaches, choose fragrant fruits which are unblemished and not overly firm. Because fresh peaches are highly perishable, don't buy more than you plan to use. Even when unripe, they spoil easily. Peaches that are greenish colored were probably picked too early should be avoided. Sweetness does not increase after picking, so ripe-picked fruit is always the tastiest.
Peaches will peel more easily if blanched for a minute in boiling water then plunged in cold water for a minute to stop the effect of the heat. Peaches discolor quickly when exposed to the air, so should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice, or a fruit "keeper" if not eaten or cooked immediately.