Peaches – Peachy in July

Fresh, Sweet, Succulent   


We love the fresh fruits of summer, especially the peach. As Southerners (Georgia Peaches to be exact), we would like to claim the peach but China has that distinction. The peach was first cultivated in China, almost 4,000 years ago, and plays an important part in Chinese tradition and culture and is symbolic of long life. It was mentioned in tenth century BC Chinese writings and was a favored fruit of emperors.

From China, the peach found its way to India, Persia, Europe and America. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing peach seeds to the new world on his second and third trips. From those beginning seeds, the United States is currently the third largest producer of peaches in the world, behind China and Italy. South Carolina and Georgia rank #2 and #3, respectively, in fresh peach production, with California leading the way. Today, peaches are the second largest commercial fruit crop in the States, second only to apples.

Nutritionally, peaches are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They are also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Niacin and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin C.  And a medium size peach contains only 40 calories and 1 gram of dietary fiber.

Some interesting peach tips from the South Carolina Peach Commission:

What about that pit? Freestone vs. Clingstone.
Peaches fall into two major categories – Clingstone and Freestone.

Clingstone peaches – These have a firm flesh that clings to the pit, or seed. It can be removed by slicing off with a knife. Clingstone peaches are the first peaches offered every summer and are great choices for eating fresh, freezing, cooking, or drying because they hold their shape.

Freestone peaches – As the summer progresses, Freestone peaches are available. Freestones have a juicy, soft flesh that is easily separated from the pit. These peaches taste great eaten fresh and make a cook’s work easier in the kitchen.

There is no taste difference between Freestone and Clingstone peaches!

This is possibly the most important thing you can do to care for your peach!

  1. Never store a ripening or firm ripe peach in your refrigerator. This kills the fruit resulting in a dry brown mealy-tasting mess.

  1. Place firm ripe peaches at room temperature – on a counter or shelf – until they are dead ripe and ready to eat. Once a peach is ready to eat and the juice flows when eaten, place it in the refrigerator. They can remain in the fridge for up to 7 – 10 days.

Unable to eat all your peaches before they spoil?
Peel and slice the fruit into a sealable storage bad. Add one tablespoon each of lemon juice and sugar. Place in freezer for future use.

What Are White Peaches?
Are you wondering what’s difference between a white peach and the traditional yellow peach? The following are a few key differences between white and yellow peaches.

  1. White peaches have a pearl, pink blushed skin, white flesh and pink seed. This doesn’t influence the taste, only the appearance of the peach.

  1. As a general rule, the white peach is less acidic resulting in a sweet fruit without the familiar twang of yellow peaches. This is helpful for people who are sensitive to acid in their diet. The basic underlining taste of the white peach is a delicately, sweet, juicy flavor containing essences of honey and vanilla finishing with a clean sweetness. White peaches are best eaten fresh and not cooked.

Just remember, the key to choosing the best peaches – whether white or yellow – is the feel and smell of the fruit, not the color. Look for peaches that are somewhat firm yet yield lightly to pressure when applied. When you can smell the sweetness of a peach without even taking a bite, then you know that fruit is ready to eat.

August is National Peach Month, and July 17th is Peach Ice Cream Day, so KosherEye thought we would get a head-start by featuring some fabulous peach recipes:

•  Perfect Peach Cobbler
•  Saluda County Peach Gazpacho
•  Pecan Crusted Chicken with Fresh Peach Salsa
•  Peach Grilling Sauce
•  Ben and Jerry's Fresh Georgia Peach Ice Cream  

A KosherEye Kitchen Tip:
To peel a fresh peach for use in the above recipes:
Boil water; Cut a shallow x at bottom of the peach; Gently submerge peach in boiling water until skin begins to wrinkle (about 15 - 60 seconds); Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer peaches to a bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Drain. When cool, peel off the skins using a small, sharp knife.

If you would like to order the real thing – straight from Georgia, please visit Dickey Farms or from South Carolina, please visit Abbott Peaches.

Enjoy the summer bounty of fresh peaches! 

July 5th, 2012

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