What’s in Season Now: Peaches
Have you ever nestled your nose so deeply into the bloom of a tender rose and inhaled so passionately that you wanted to eat it? What about a ripe, round summer peach? Nuzzling its dewy-soft skin and drinking in its innocent scent before plunging your teeth into the succulent, juicy flesh is a seasonal pleasure not to be missed. As Shakespeare’s Juliet said to Romeo, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” and it would only make sense then, that these two fragrant delights, called by different names, are both members of the same family.
Just as a summer tomato has no equal, neither does a sun-kissed peach. Modern farming and transportation mean we can find produce when and where we shouldn’t, but I’m not interested in a bland and disappointing experience when I look for either. I want fireworks! I want my tongue to leap with lip-smacking joy! I want to need lots of napkins and I want to experience the unpreventable chin-lift that fights the losing battle of keeping sweet juice from running down my chin. THAT’S what I’m talking about. Sadly, it’s a brief season for the beloved peach ’round here, so let’s get to it!
Purchasing and Storing
Without a doubt, the best place to buy summer peaches is at a local farm or famers market, though some stores are carrying locally grown produce. While it’s not common, it is possible to bite into a peach and find it to be underripe or lacking in taste. To minimize the chance of that happening, look for an even background color of golden yellow for yellow peaches, and creamy yellow for white flesh peaches. Don’t be fooled by the red blush of some peaches; it does not indicate ripeness. Look for a well-defined crease, a slight give to the flesh when gently pressed, and avoid fruit that is green around the stem. Smell the peach. It should have an unmistakably sweet, ripe scent. Luckily for us, peaches are one of the fruits that will continue to ripen after being picked. Store them in a brown paper bag to hasten the process.
Pure joy drives us to eat peaches however, there are some lovely side benefits you should be aware of:
Peaches are rich in minerals such as potassium, fluoride and iron. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Fluoride is a component of bones and teeth and potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Peaches contain health promoting antioxidants that help act as protective scavengers against free radicals that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
They are a source of vitamins C and A, and an average-sized peach contains about 40 calories. Not a bad nutritional bang for your caloric buck.
A perfectly ripe peach needs no recipe, no preparation and no fuss to enjoy it, but in case you’re looking for a little variety, peaches are versatile and can be incorporated into many dishes with ease.
Take any fruit crisp or cobbler recipe and replace the fruit with peaches. Better yet, combine them for a delicious duo of seasonal flavors. Try our Easy Peach and Blueberry Crisp recipe and see what I mean.
I find that peaches make a great substitute for mangos in summer salsas. Try this recipe and swap out the mangos for peaches.
One of our favorite guest chefs, Jenné Claiborne, provided this recipe for Raw Peach Cobbler. Easy and so delicious.
And don’t forget how glorious it is to drink a peach. Chop up some peaches and blend together with your favorite juice or seltzer and ice for a refreshing and healthy summer cooler.