Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Whats In Season Now? PEACHES!

"Life is better than death, I believe, 
mainly because it is less boring, 
and because it has fresh peaches in it."

                                                                    Alice Walker

Peaches are now in season at the Farmers Markets, and yes, 

they make life worth living.

Originally from China, this fruit made it's way through India, East Asia, and Persia. After Alexander the Great (One of the worlds most well known Macedonians) he had it cultivated throughout his Empire and the Romans maintained this delicious practice. The Spaniards brought Peaches to the New World in the 1500's and then the British brought the delightful fruit to the Virginia Colony in the 1600's, and the rest, they say is edible history.

There are several types of peaches, free stone and cling stone, white flesh and yellow flesh

Peaches and Nectarines are actually the same fruit, just the Peach has fuzzy skin and the Nectarine is smooth.

When buying Peaches, or anything made out of Peaches for that matter, it is really important to buy organic. Conventionally grown peaches always have the dubious honor of being nominated by the Environmental Working Group as part of the "Dirty Dozen" 

When you see what is on conventionally grown Peaches, you will never want to eat them again!

Good news is that when they are in season, Organically grown peaches actually taste a lot better, and Farmers Markets now are brimming with the juicy that are really fantastic all on their own. You can preserve the Summer bounty by making jams, canning your own peaches, or by freezing them. To freeze peaches, simply peel, stone and slice the peaches, place slices on a cookie sheet and freeze for several hours. When "done" (frozen through) simply put into a freezer proof bag or a freezer container. They are good for six months, and can be used in smoothies or to bake with.

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat Peaches

Peach Juice

When my family and I drove across Europe in an Audi, the Peach Juice we would get in Croatia and Serbia was out of this world, this is the closest I have ever tasted to that incredible treat:

Peel, stone and slice 6 medium to large ripe Peaches. Place in a blender or processor. Add 3 tbsp water, 2 tbsp honey, the juice of one lime and about 6 ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and serve with mint or lemon balm sprigs.

Peach Salsa

5 medium Peaches, peeled and pitted. 2 large heirloom yellow tomatoes, cut into wedges and seeded. 1/2 medium red onion, cut into wedges, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed, 1 large red or green Jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed. 4 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tsp lime juice.  

Place all into a food processor and pulse quickly about 10 times to mix everything thoroughly but not make a puree. Add some olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with non-gmo corn chips, or with pulled pork tacos. This is also wonderful with grilled salmon.

Quick Peach Melba's

Peel, Stone and Slice VERY RIPE peaches, place three to four slices in a champagne glass (not the fluted kind, the wide kind) 

Place 1 cup fresh or frozen Raspberries into a blender, add 2 tbsp orange juice concentrate, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and a dash of ginger powder. Puree until fully blended.

Take 1 cup low or non fat organic Greek yogurt, add 1/4 tsp cardamom, several drops of vanilla extract, and either 1 tbsp honey or 5 drops vanilla or almond flavored stevia sweetener, mix till fully blended.

To Assemble: put a dollop of the yogurt mixture on top of the peach slices, drizzle with the Raspberry sauce and enjoy! Best to assemble and eat immediately.

Grilled Peaches

Halve and remove stones from 2 firm peaches. Brush both sides with Almond Oil. Place on heated grill and cover grill, cook for 5 minutes per side. Serve warm with Ice Cream, Yogurt mixture from above recipe, with pork and game meats. An extra added kick it to sprinkle brown sugar on top!

So any way you slice them, Peaches are FANTASTIC, enjoy! They will be with us for a couple of months, but there is no time like the present to make the most of the season. To find fresh organic peaches near you check out Farmers Pal a directory of all organic farms in the US, just click on your state, I recommend looking at the Georgia offerings, really really fun!

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