Okayama’s peaches are well-known among the Japanese for the folk tale of “Momotarou (Peach Boy)”, and peach blossoms represent Okayama as the “Prefectural Flower”.
Full-scale peach cultivation began in 1875 (Meiji Period), when peaches were brought to Okayama from China. With the gifted environmental features and the long hard work of the foregoers who acquired brilliant techniques, Okayama became one of Japan’s largest peach producers.
“White peaches” are grown with extra care; each fruit is covered with a small bag to protect the delicate soft white skin to ripen it to perfection. This process requires a lot of work, and is an important technique in cultivating the finest peaches. Comments like “I’ve never had peaches that are this soft and sweet.” and “Peaches made in Okayama are always delicious!” are the finest compliments for the peach producers in Okayama.
White peaches from various regions can be found in August and are very special. Juicy and without preservatives. When the fruit is small the farmer will examine each fruit and cut any that do not look. About 1/3rd of the peaches are culled during this process, hence all the goodness of the tree can go into the peaches that are kept. After this, each peach is individually wrapped in light paper to prevent spoiling by bugs.
If you cannot find any green colors on the stem of the peach, that means your peach is fully ripen. You should enjoy it right away. If you leave it in the refrigerator to cool for two hours before you eat it, you can enjoy it even better!
But be careful not to cool it too much. If you leave it in the refrigerator too long, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the flavor or sweetness. So if you can’t eat it right away, leave it in room temperature, but try to eat it as soon as possible. Avoid leaving it in the refrigerator too long, or under direct sunlight for the peach may rot.
The best way to enjoy peaches are eating them fresh, but if you have more than enough peaches, try making some fresh peach jam. Cook it in an enamel pot, with half the amount of granulated sugar of the peaches.
You can enjoy the jam along with some yogurt, or mix it with milk to make a refreshing drink!
These are truly special peaches and we look forward to having them in summer!