Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables: Peaches

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Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables: Peaches

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

It’s peach season! Enjoy the season, the history of the fruit and the recipes for a juicy summer.

History:

  • Peaches originated in China and are mentioned in Chinese writings as far back as the 10th Century BC.
  • The peach was brought to America by Spanish explorers
  • In Queen Victoria’s day, no meal was complete without a fresh peach presented in a beautifully stitched cotton napkin
  • Various American Indian tribes are credited with migrating the peach tree across the United States, planting seeds as they roved the country
  • Thomas Jefferson had peach trees at Monticello, but US farmers did not begin commercial production until the 19th Century
  • Today, peaches are the second largest commercial fruit crop in the US, second to the apple.

Nutritional Facts:

  • Peaches contain good amounts of potassium, vitamins C and A
  • Aid in the stimulation of digestion and add color to the complexion

Selection and Storage:

  • Choose peaches that are firm to the touch, but will give a little with gentle pressure
  • The fruits should be free of bruises and have a fragrant peach aroma
  • A mature peach will have a well defined cleft
  • Although peaches will continue to ripen after being picked, the sugar production ceases once picked
  • Under ripe peaches can be ripened somewhat by placing them in a paper bag punched with holes at room temperature away from sunlight.
  • Refrigeration will extend the peach’s life, but not more than a day. Peaches need humidity, so refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within a couple of days.

Cooking:

  • Although the fuzzy skin is edible, it becomes tough when cooked. Remove the skin by marking an X at the end of the peach with a sharp knife. Blanch in boiling water for one minute and plunge immediately into cold water to stop the cooking process. The skin should peel right off.
  • The stone will give off a bitter flavor. Be sure to remove it before canning or freezing peaches.

Paula’s Favorite Peach Recipes:

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