Late July/August is a prime time to get wonderfully flavorful peaches. They originally came from China, Peaches are a late-summer favorite all across the U.S. The sweet, fuzzy fruit has a large middle seed, making it a part of the stone fruit family. They can be broken down further to two varieties: freestone - peaches that have seeds that easily comes out; clingsone - peaches that have seeds that cling to the flesh (we’ve all been there).
We often hear about all of the delicious recipes you can make with peaches, but we don’t hear about the health benefits as much. They’re kind of impressive.
Health Benefits of Peaches
- They are very high in antioxidants, which protect our bodies from disease.
- They aid in our metabolic process and help us to better utilize carbohydrates.
- High levels of Vitamin C are great for skin and helps defend our bodies against infections.
- They are rich in beta-carotene, which helps our eyesight.
- They contain magnesium which helps prevent stress in the body and keeps the nervous system calm.
- They contain bioactive components that help defend against obesity-related diseases, like diabetes.
Pretty impressive, right?
Selecting & Storing Peaches
Start by smelling the peach, it should be a sweet smell. They should be soft, but not mushy. Have you ever heard the expression, “bruise like a peach?” Well, peaches bruise like a peach, so don’t squeeze too hard. They should have a golden yellow base color (the red color only indicates variety). And definitely stay away from any peaches with hints of green.
If you can get your peaches from a local source, like a farmer’s market, they have a shorter distance to travel and will be fresher and less bruised.
Peaches can ripen if left at room temperature within a few days. Ripe peaches should be stored in the refrigerator. They should last about a week.
You can freeze peaches as long as they are not mushy.
Peel your peach by adding it to boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove and immediately put into an ice bath. The skin should come off very easily. Peaches can brown pretty quickly after cutting into the flesh. Try to serve right away or dip them in put diluted lemon, lime, orange or pineapple juice to slow the browning.
Peaches pair very well cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and cured meats. Try them as a snack, in your yogurt or smoothie, as a salsa, in a barbeque sauce, or my personal favorite, on the grill.
Now go get some peaches!
(and try this recipe below)
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