The time has come to enjoy fresh, juicy, ripe peaches. At The Purple Onion, we love them out of hand, but we also can’t wait to use these delicious sweet fruits in some favorite recipes, including ice creams, cobblers and pies.
The peach is a member of the rose family and originated in China, where it has been cultivated since at least 1000 B.C. In Chinese culture, peaches hold special significance and are said to bring luck and protection. So when you share your fruit with a friend who’s “a peach,” you’re saying something about how much you like them!
According to NutritionData.com, peaches are among the healthiest of all fruits. Peaches give you a mix of many different essential nutrients, are cholesterol-free and their 87% water content makes them a perfect between-meal snack. Peaches provide natural plant compounds called flavonoids, which research suggests may help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Several major nutrients, including vitamins A and C and potassium, are packed into each peach. They’re an excellent source of fiber, and are good for keeping blood sugar and cholesterol levels low. Peaches provide 10% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. A medium-size peach contains only 60 calories.
There are more than 700 varieties of peaches, but only two general types — freestone and clingstone. How the flesh comes away from the pit in the middle of the peach gives it its the name. When the flesh comes away freely, it’s a freestone peach; if the flesh clings to the peach, it’s a clingstone.
The best way to store ripe peaches is in the refrigerator, where they will last a week or so. If your peaches are not ripened, put them on your counter at room temperature until they reach your desired ripeness. If you want your peaches to ripen faster, place them in a brown paper bag on the counter. Once they’ve reached the ripeness you like, then put them in the refrigerator.
For maximum flavor, allow peaches to reach room temperature before eating them. This will take about 30 minutes if they’ve been refrigerated.
If you’ve purchased more peaches than you will eat soon and want to save them for cooking or baking later, here’s a simple freezing process that you can use.
Make sure peaches are soft and ripe. Peel and slice them into a bowl of water mixed with citric acid powder. Make sure to cover the entire peach slices with the water solution; this will keep the peaches from turning brown when they thaw.
Drain all water from the peaches before freezing. Add sugar to taste and pack peaches in freezer bags about ¾ full. Flatten bags and freeze.
If you’re into preserving, a friend so swears by the marmalade recipe below that she refers to it as the Peach Marmalade. She highly recommends you try this one with white peaches if you can get them.
Fresh peaches can brighten a bowl of cereal in the morning or an afternoon snack of yogurt. They have a place on our menu from morning to night.
For a light lunch with a salad or an appetizer, the Peach, Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini couldn’t be an easier go-to recipe. No cooking, just some slicing, shredding and stacking.
The Peach Salad is just as easy. Again, you don’t have to cook a thing, just slice and combine ingredients for a salad that’s sweet and tangy. This salad could be a refreshing counterpoint to grilled pork tenderloin, brats or fish.
The Chicken, Brie and Peach Flatbread is perfect for a quick dinner after a day in the sun. Using a store-bought rotisserie chicken saves time for the cook and reduces the time you’ll have the oven on for heating up dinner.
You may say all of these savory recipes are well and good, but where’s the dessert? We’ve got you covered with three great recipes.
Browned-Butter Grilled Peaches is vanilla ice cream’s new best friend. Make the cinnamon toast crumbles and browned butter early in the day. After the dinner is off the grill and it’s time for dessert, the peaches go on. Topped with the browned butter, vanilla ice cream and crumbles, you’ll enjoy a sweet treat at the end of the meal.
Did you know that July is National Peach Month? President Ronald Reagan proclaimed it to be so in 1982. Though we missed that mark, there’s another peachy celebration coming up in August that you have time to plan for — Aug. 24 is Peach Pie Day.
We’re sharing a traditional two-crust peach pie for your consideration. But if you want to take a short cut, you can do so with the Peach Clafoutis.