Peaches are possibly the most celebrated fruit in New Jersey and, possibly, the most versatile fruit on the planet. Before they're available in the marketplace, generally in mid-July (this year, at the end of June), shoppers clamor for them. As soon as they hit the supermarkets they are snapped up. They sell out at weekly farmers markets. If you can resist biting into a whole peach or slicing it and eating it au natural, there are many different ways to prepare and eat this fruit. You can even skin it, slice it and freeze it for a fresh treat long after the season ends in September.
So popular is the peach that New Jersey governors declare August "Jersey Fresh Peach Month," when peaches are at their peak. The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council has been sponsoring and promoting various peach events (from July 21 through August) at farmers markets, supermarkets and restaurants. This year, there are more than 20 peach parties and other peach events throughout New Jersey in more than 13 counties.
Nutritionally peaches are very good for you. They are low in calorie and high in fiber. A medium size peach has just 35 calories and 2.6 grams of fiber. Peaches are also rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamins A & C, important to maintaining good health and skin ~ and maintain a great complexion. Antioxidants are substances that protect the body by eliminating free radicals, which cause cell damage and can contribute to aging. The sun brings out free radicals in the skin and antioxidants protect skin cells by counteracting free radical activity.
"Peaches, plums, and nectarines are a delicious way for everyone to get their five-a-day," says Pat Baird, MA, RD, and author of The Pyramid Cookbook. "They are great sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Summer tree fruits have long been considered a delicious source of nutrition, but the fact that the benefits extend to promoting healthy skin is great news for consumers, especially those interested in maintaining a peaches-and-cream complexion."
- 2 lb. Jersey peaches
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 cup water
- Grated peel of one lemon
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup water
- Fresh mint
- Blanch peaches in hot water and remove skins. Halve and slice.
- Dissolve the sugar in water, boil for a few minutes, then add peaches and lightly poach.
- Let cool, then puree in a blender.
- Add wine and lemon peel and chill well.
- Serve chilled; garnish with sprigs of mint.
This is an official five-a-day recipe.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories, 165; Cholesterol, 0; Fiber, 6 g; Sodium, 3 mg; Percent calories from: Protein, 4%, Carbohydrates, 25%; Fat, 1%.
3 cups fresh peaches, skinned and quartered
½ tsp. lemon juice
1 cup cranberry juice
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan, combine the peaches, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and ¾ cup of the cranberry juice. Mix well.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Stir together the cornstarch and the remaining ¼ cup cranberry juice. Raise the heat so that the liquid in the pan begins to boil.
- Add the cornstarch mixture and stir for 1 minute, or until the liquid thickens and becomes clear. Transfer to a serving bowl and add the vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Can be served over pudding, ice cream or with whipped toppings.
Per serving: 134 calories, 1.1 grams of total fat (7% of calories), 0.2 grams of saturated fat; 0 cholesterol.
Recipes from Jersey Fresh
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Chilled Peach Soup - Photo credit: gapeaches.org