Sweet, Juicy Peaches Now in Season

At its ripest and best the peach is a food that forces you to adopt a special eating position – bowing forwards at an angle of 30° and with arm raised above the horizontal – to avoid being bathed in peach juice (now there’s an idea…).

HISTORY:  Native toChina, peaches were taken along the Silk Route toPersia and were later spread to North andWest Europe by the Romans. The peach is easily raised from seed and is now grown in temperate climates across the globe.

NUTRITION:  a surprising fact to note is that a medium peach packs a powerful 465 IU of vitamin A to combat the effects of aging. Further benefits of a medium peach include B vitamins, 3 mcg of folic acid, 5.7 mg of vitamin C, 4.35 mg of calcium, 1.4 grams of fiber, 171 mg of potassium, and a little zinc. Their beta carotene also helps build a strong immune system to prevent damage from free radicals, and to avert many skin diseases. Beta carotene is a pro-vitamin that the body converts into vitamin A.

BUYING:  Peaches get softer and juicier after picking but they only develop flavor and sweetness on the tree. Choose fruit that yield slightly to pressure: slightly firm fruit are fine but hard fruit should be avoided. The amount and depth of pink coverage on the skin varies and does not signify ripeness, but any sign of green reveals fruit that has been picked prematurely.  Smell is a very good indicator of the level of flavor.

Although peaches are cooked, canned, dried, pureed, boiled, roasted, and made into jam, the best flavor and nutritional benefits are derived from enjoying them fresh and whole, fuzz and all. In their natural state, no nutrients have been extracted and nothing harmful has been added.

STORING:  Firm peaches can be kept at room temperature until soft (storing in a paper bag will accelerate this process). Soft fruit can be refrigerated to help maintain their condition but very ripe peaches go from peak to past it rapidly and need eating promptly.

 PREPARING:  Allow refrigerated peaches to reach room temperature before eating. If eating with the skin on they should be cleaned by light brushing under running cold water.

The best way to peel peaches is the same as for tomatoes. Blanch by dropping briefly into boiling water (around 10 seconds for soft fruit, 30 seconds for firmer ones) before cooling in cold water and draining. The skin can then be easily removed with fingers or a knife.

Peeled or cut peaches will turn brown as they oxidize: rub surfaces with a little lemon juice to help prevent this.

Although peaches are cooked, canned, dried, pureed, boiled, roasted, and made into jam, the best flavor and nutritional benefits are derived from enjoying them fresh and whole, fuzz and all. In their natural state, no nutrients have been extracted and nothing harmful has been added.

Thanks to eattheseason.com for providing some of the information listed here.

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