Ah the peach – a classic sign of summer, that shows up in desserts and salads, an anticipated addition to farmers’ markets and stands across the country from June through August. August is actually National Peach Month! You may love this sweet, juicy fruit, but how much do you know about its history or nutritional value.
The fuzzy peach is actually a member of the rose family that originated in China and in fact the scientific name Prunus persica, is a direct reference to the fruit’s export route to Persia along the Silk Road. China continues to produce and export the most peaches, followed by Italy. In the United States, Georgia is our infamous peach state.
The two most common varieties of peaches are the clingstone (the flesh sticks to the stone) and freestone (the stone is easily separated from the flesh). Peaches can have yellow or white flesh. The white flesh is sweeter and less acidic than its more traditional golden counterpart. Regardless of which color you prefer, when selecting them, the flesh of a peach should have a slight give, but be careful to use your whole hand vs. fingertips to check since the fruit bruises so easily.
A large peach has fewer than 70 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber (if you eat the skin). It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C. Regardless of the flesh color, peaches are packed with other antioxidants (carotenoid concentrations) and polyphenols.
Beyond the peach pie (which is still my favorite), here are 10 more tasty ways to incorporate peaches into your diet this August:
10) Peach Salsa! Salsa makes a delicious accompaniment to many different meats and a great dip for tortilla chips. Try a new salsa recipe and spoon it over grilled chicken or fish.
9) Beverage Blast. Add an extra flavor surge to your tea or lemonade. Just add a few fresh or frozen peaches in the bottom of a glass before pouring. Sip and …aaahhh!
8) Cobbler or Compote. Don’t forget the dessert!
7) Bake, Broil or Sauté. For a delicious snack or side dish, warm some peach slices using one of these cooking methods then add a little cinnamon.
6) Homemade Fruit Leather. Peal and pit peaches then puree in a blender. Pour the puree onto wax paper-lined cookie sheets and dry in a dehydrator or the oven at a very low temperature. Letting this cook overnight will give you a warm, welcoming treat in the morning.
5) Peach Preserves. Try your hand at making some delicious peach preserves! It keeps the flavor of summer in your pantry all year round.
4) Drink ‘em. Toss fresh or frozen peaches into a blender with some low-fat yogurt (or milk), bananas, and ice. Then blend away for a delicious smoothie.
3) Grill ‘em. Peaches taste great warm from the grill! Place them on kabobs with your other favorite fresh fruit or just grill some slices and enjoy!
2) A Peach Breakfast. Peach slices are a great addition to hot or cold cereals, pancakes and waffles, and plain or vanilla yogurt or cottage cheese.
1) AND last but not least…drum roll please…Pick Your Peaches. Whether you pick your peaches straight from the tree or from your grocer’s fruit bin, you can’t beat just biting into this sweet juicy summertime favorite!
Peachy Chipotle Salsa
From: Fruits and Veggies – More Matters recipes
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus marinating time
Cups of Fruits and Vegetables per Serving: .5
2 cups diced ripe peaches
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup red onion, diced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup canned chipotle chili peppers, seeded and minced
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoons crushed cumin seeds
½ teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Delicious over baked fish, chicken or pork.
Nutritional Information per serving
Total Fat: 0.4g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Percent of Calories from Fat: 8%