Chef Kelly Unger
You're a peach!
I might be biased, but I think the peach is one of the top 5 best fruits. It may actually be the best. Not many things make me happier than looking at a bowl full of peaches. Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but I LOVE peaches. When they're in season, I eat at least two a day. Just plain, out of hand. Nothing fancy is needed for peaches in my book. They're perfect as is.
According to research by Dr. William Li in his book Eat to Beat Disease and the companion cookbook How to Eat to Beat Disease Cookbook by Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, the peach supports all 5 body defense systems. Those defense systems are: angiogenesis (the process of blood vessel formation), cell regeneration, your microbiome, DNA health, and the immune system.
Somewhat surprising to me is that soy milk is also on this list of foods to eat to beat disease. A peach smoothie made with organic soy milk would be a nutritional home run! Watermelon, whose season is finally here, is loaded with lycopene to help protect your DNA, remove excess fat and fire your metabolism. Combining watermelon with a peach is a grand slam! My favorite breakfast bowl is diced fresh peaches and watermelon.
Now, if the fuzz of a peach has turned you off in the past, the simple solution is to use a scrub sponge - lightly - when you wash your peach to remove any signs of it. Because you want to eat your peaches with the skin on for maximum benefit and flavor. I tend to not cook fruit in season because the heat kills the beneficial enzymes and dulls the flavor. So I like to make things like peach salsa, smoothies, sangria, peach lemonade, and a fresh peach pie which is a baked pie crust filled with slices of fresh peaches with the skins on and some peach jello poured over top to hold it all together.
But if you really want to cook or bake with peaches, I won’t stop you. I found a fun book called just Peachy by Belinda Smith-Sullivan while on vacation. It was just too cute to pass up. She opens the book with the wonderful quote by George du Maurier - “An apple is an excellent thing - until you have tried a peach.”
She talks about the history of peaches, originating in Persia (modern day Iran) and includes interesting peach facts like: peaches are considered a symbol of good luck, brides in China include their blossoms in their wedding bouquets, peaches are always picked by hand, the average life span of a peach tree is 15 years, peaches are known as "the fruit of calmness", said to reduce anxiety, peaches used to be known as Persian apples, and the saying "You're a peach" originated from the tradition of giving a peach to someone you like. Cute! Some of the recipes in the book are: peach guacamole, peach bourbon roasted chicken, peach pies, and peach coconut cake. I love anything peach and anything coconut so I think I'll be making that cake!
Peach trees put out their flowers and the fruit comes from that. This past Spring, after the peach trees blossomed, we had a terrible surprise freeze and most of the peach crops in our area were damaged. Yields this year are down by 50%. So be extra kind to our fruit farmers. They are devastated. And savor peaches always, but especially this year.