The Popular Peach
Peaches and similar fruit such as nectarines deliver modest amounts of vitamins (especially A and C), niacin and minerals (particularily potassium), while satisfying your craving for something sweet -- all at a tiny price in calories (only 40 in a medium-sized peach).
The popular red blush on peaches may not always be a true sign of maturity. Choose peaches that have a yellow or creamy background, and that are fragrant, unblemished and not too hard. Because fresh peaches are highly perishable, don't buy more than you plan to use. Even when unripe, peaches spoil easily. Peaches are available all year.
Wash peaches carefully in cool water before using. Peaches will peel more easily if blanched for a minute in boiling water, then plunged into cold water for a minute to cool. Use peaches in pasta salad or grill peach halves with blueberries and brown sugar for dessert. Blend into frozen daiquiris, smoothies or shakes. Top with frozen yogurt or angel food cake.
Peaches should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice after cutting to prevent discoloration.
To ripen peaches, store in a brown bag at room temperature. Ripe peaches can be stored in the crisper bin of your refrigerator for up to five days.
Peaches: Nutritional Facts
- Saturated fat-free
- High in vitamin A
- A good source of vitamin C
A large peach has only 70 calories which makes it a fantastic snack or guilt-free dessert.
Cooking tip: Cook with sugar (1 pound of fruit per 2 cups sugar) on the stove until thickened for a delicious jam. Peaches pair well with almonds, oranges, raspberries, strawberries and ginger.
Very ripe peaches peel with ease. Otherwise, blanching is a good option. Cut a small X in the end opposite the stem and plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds, then swiftly transfer to ice water. The skin will peel away easily afterwards. Rub or sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent the peaches from browning.
Varieties of Peaches
In the early 1600s Spanish explorers brought it to the New World and by the 1700s missionaries had established peaches in California.
Peaches are available almost all year. The season dictates the variety. Semi-freestones (Queencrest) are early season late April to June. In mid-June the market shifts to freestone (Elegant Lady) or clingstone. On the off seasons peaches are imported into the U.S. from Chile and Mexico. Fresh varieties are sold as freestone while clingstone is usually used for canning.
The fruit inside these peaches is either yellow or white. The white flesh is a "sub-acid" fruit its flavor is more sugary sweet. The more traditional color is yellow. It's more acidic, which does give it a bit more flavor. Half of the United States crop comes from the South and the other half from California. The United States also produces 25 percent of the total world market (THE PACKER 1999).
When selecting fresh peaches, look for ones that are soft to the touch, blemish free, and have a fragrant smell. Peaches that are mildly fragrant ripen into sweet and delicious flavors. Choose fruit that has a background color of yellow or cream and has a fresh looking appearance. Peaches may have some red "blush" depending on the variety, but this is not a sign of how the fruit will taste after it is ripened. At home peaches can be ripened at room temperature in a brown paper bag in 2 to 3 days. Peaches are highly perishable, so don't buy more than you plan to use. When selecting can peaches, choose those labeled "packed in it's own juice" and "no added sugar"; these are the healthier choices.
The best way to ripen stone fruit is to place the fruit in a paper bag, fold the top of the bag over loosely, and place the bag on the counter for one to three days. Never store hard fruit in the refrigerator, in plastic bags, or in direct sunlight.
Check the fruit daily. When it is ripe, it will be aromatic and will give slightly to gentle pressure. Once ripened, it can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
Wash peaches carefully in cool soapy water, then rinse well before eating or using. Unless a recipe calls for it, you never need to peel the fruits; in fact, many of the nutrients found in stone fruits are contained in the peel, and it's highly recommended that the peel be consumed along with the flesh. If used in cooking they peel really fast if blanched in boiling water for a minute then plunged into ice water to cool. In fruit salads or platters, sprinkle cut peaches with lemon juice to help them keep their great color.
Peaches on Pottery
The peach is a member of the rose family. It was first cultivated in China and revered as a symbol of longevity. The image was placed on pottery and received as a gift with great esteem.
Peaches: Quick Serving Suggestions
For centuries, herbalists have prescribed the leaves, bark, kernel, and flowers of the peach tree as a medicine. Imagine that, as you enjoy a scrumptious dish of peach ice cream!
The grill is also a good buddy for slightly under ripe peaches. Simply halve them, remove the pit and put the peach to the metal.
- Peaches are sodium, fat and cholesterol free.
- Peaches are high in vitamin A.
- Peaches are a good source of vitamin C.
Peaches and Cream Pudding
Drain one can (15 ounce) peach slices in natural juice, reserving juice. Mix 1 cup milk and reserved peach juice in medium bowl. Add one package (4-serving size) Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding and Pie Filling. Beat with wire whisk two minutes or until well blended. Stir in peaches. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 4 servings.
Peachy Yogurt Smoothie
Into a blender place one 8-ounce cup of low fat peach yogurt, 1 cup sliced frozen peaches and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Whir in blender until smooth. Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 2g protein, 0.5g fat, 70mg calcium, 9g carbohydrates, 48 calories
Fantastic Peach Smoothie
Pour half a cup of boiling water over a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root (peeled and crushed) and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain and stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of honey to make a syrup. Refrigerate. When ready to drink, place 1 peeled and pitted, chopped peach and 1 sliced banana in a blender and whir. Add the syrup and process until smooth. Enjoy!
Peach Melba Milkshake
Stir 1 cup crushed raspberries and 1 to 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar. Blend 1 pint peach ice cream and 1/4 cup milk; layer in glasses with the raspberry mixture. Top with whole raspberries.
Quick Peach Cobbler Recipe
1 stick butter
1 large can sliced peaches
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup self rising flour
1 cup milk
Melt butter in baking dish. Put peaches and 1 cup sugar in a bowl. In another bowl mix flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, add milk and stir well until smooth. Pour over peaches Do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Notes: Other fruits and berries can be used in this recipe. This batter makes its own crust it rises to top and covers peaches.
Use a 29-ounce can peaches, light syrup pack, drained and chopped to make this quick and easy peach cake for your next dessert.
1 29-ounce can peaches, light syrup pack, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 8 x 8 inch pan. Spread peaches in baking pan. Mix remaining ingredients, except brown sugar and milk, together in mixing bowl; spread over top of peaches.
Bake until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.
For topping, combine brown sugar and milk in small bowl. Drizzle mixture on top of cake; return cake to oven, and bake 2 to 3 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces.
Did You Know?
August is Peach Month.
National Peach Cobbler Day is April 13.
July 17th is National Peach Ice Cream Day.
Peach Madness Recipe Card
Peach Refrigerator Cake Recipe Card
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