I am an avid pie baker and would like to know which peach would be the best to use in a pie. I would like the peach to be able to hold its shape and not get mushy. When I make apple pies I like to use at least 2 different varieties of apples to add more flavor & texture. Would I want to do the same with peaches? Thank you for your help. V.
If you can get non-melting type peaches these tend to hold up best in pies.
The most common non-melting variety in the Michigan area is Babygold 5. There are some new varieties developed in Ontario that work very well--Vinegold, Vulcan, Virgil, & Venture. These have better disease resistance than the older varieties and excellent taste. The flavor of a non-melting is generally spicier than for melting types. The disadvantage is that these are all clingstone types.
The vast majority of peaches available in stores and roadside are so-called melting types. It is important to find peaches that are firm ripe (only a slight give to a gentle squeeze) if you want non-mushy texture. Some peach varieties have tough skins so you may need to see what the flesh firmness is under the peel.
Time of picking is more important than variety. Juicy peaches tend to be softer when cooked.
A few older varieties with a reputation for firmness when canned are: Cresthaven, Redskin, Ambergem. We do not have good canning information for the newest varieties in Michigan. We would be interested in hearing your experiences.
Blending two peach varieties in the same pie probably would not provide the benefit seen with apples. Simply go with the one variety that is the best unless you want to use up some of the lesser quality one.