Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Peaches from
the Barren County Farmers' Market




Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Peaches are native to China. They are believed to have come to Europe via Persia, today's Iran. There are two main varieties: Freestones and Clingstones. In a freestones peach, the pit pulls free from the fruit. This is the peach most commonly found in supermarkets.

In a clingstone peach, the fruit clings to the pit. Most people don't like to struggle with the pit so prefer the freestone peaches. When canning peaches or serving them, it looks nicer to see a clean half peach than a peach that had to be cut up into many pieces to remove the pit.

The peach was revered by the Chinese who thought it conferred immortality on those who ate it. But strangely enough, the peach tree itself is very short lived, about 20 years. Introduced into the Americas by the Spanish, the peach quickly became a favorite among Native Americans who were growing it well before most of the colonists got around to planting peach trees. The peach is a temperate climate fruit of short season that bruises easily. Peach season begins in May and ends in October. Peak season for peaches is June, July, and August.

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

There are two colors of peaches, yellow and white. Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches usually have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness, though this also varies greatly.

Both colors often have a red blush on their skin. Low-acid white-fleshed peaches are the most popular kinds in China, Japan, and neighbouring Asian countries, while Europeans and North Americans have historically preferred the acidic, yellow-fleshed kinds.

Selecting a quality product

When buying peaches, look for two things. One look for a creamy yellow background. Second, gently squeeze it in your palm to check ripeness. When fruit gives to a little pressure and smells sweet, it's ready to eat.

Choose peaches with a good "peachy" smell that are unblemished and not too hard. Because fresh peaches are highly perishable, don't buy more than you plan to use. Even when unripe, they spoil easily. Peaches that are greenish colored were probably picked too early should be avoided. Sweetness does not increase after picking, so ripe-picked fruit is always the tastiest. For immediate eating pleasure, especially when buying locally grown peaches, choose soft, fragrant fruit.

If you choose a peach which has not ripened yet, place in a brown paper bag for a couple of days. It will not get riper but it will get softer. You many have heard: "If you choose to add an apple, the ripening process will increase as apples release a certain gas that aids in other fruits ripening." This is not true but it will help it soften as described above. A peach quits ripening the moment it is picked.

If you need to skin your peach, the best way is to blanch it. How to blanch: place a fruit or vegetable in boiling water for a few seconds, then place them in iced water to stop the cooking process. Peaches only need to be immersed for 30 seconds before being placed in the iced water. Once cooled, you can easily peel the skin from the fruit. Place the fruit in a paper towel and twist the skin right off. Tomatoes also work like this.

If you need to remove the pit, cut around the pit. While holding the fruit, twist the two halves in opposite directions. Use a knife to help loosen the pit from the fruit, and then remove with your fingers. This of course works better with the freestone peaches.

Peaches discolor quickly when exposed to the air, so should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice, or a fruit keeper if not eaten or cooked immediately.

Tips on Storage

Keep peaches, still fairly solid to touch, at room temperature out of direct sun until ripening begins and their skin yields slightly to gentle pressure. Ripe peaches should be kept refrigerated in a single layer for no longer than five days. Overripe (extremely soft) peaches should be used, fresh or in cooking, at once. Do not wash until ready to eat.




Recipes

Peaches And Cream Omelet

8 oz cream cheese; softened
8 eggs
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 pack sweetener

FILLING

2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup peaches (stewed); chopped

Combine all ingredients except butter and peaches in a bowl. Beat until smooth. Melt butter in non-stick omelet pan or skillet. Beat eggs with remaining ingredients. Pour into pan and tilt to spread eggs to edges. Cook over low heat. Loosen eggs from sides of pan with spatula as they begin to set. Lift eggs with spatula and tilt pan to allow uncooked eggs to run to sides and under eggs to continue cooking. Carefully lift one side of outer edge of eggs with spatula and fold over towards center making a half circle or flattened cone. Slide omelet out of pan onto dish and serve. If filling omelet, spoon filling mixture on top of and in the center of omelet prior to folding edges over to form half circle. When omelet is ready to turn toward center, spoon peaches onto center for filling.




Peach Noodle Kugel

2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz wide flat egg noodles
1/4 lb butter or margarine; melted
4 lg eggs; lightly beaten
2 tbsp cinnamon
4 med peaches; diced
1 cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook noodles until done; about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the brown sugar. Fold well. Bake in a 375F oven for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the brown sugar generously to cover the top. Bake another 10 minutes.




Chicken Almond Casserole With Peaches

Yield: 8 Servings

6 boneless chicken breasts; whole, split
3/4 cup flour
2 ts salt
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/4 cups water
1 can condensed beef consomme
2 tbsp catsup
1 cup sour cream
1 lg can peach halves; drained
1 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Dredge chicken breasts with mixture of salt, pepper, paprika and flour. Reserve remaining flour mixture. Brown chicken on all sides in hot butter. Remove to a 3-quart casserole. Lightly brown almonds in drippings left in skillet. Stir in remaining flour. Gradually stir in water and consomme. Add catsup, cok and stir until thickened.Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Pour over chicken and bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Arrange peaches, cut side up, on chicken. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 10 minutes.




Pennsylvania Peaches 'N Cream-Cheese Crustle

Yield: 8 Servings

3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 oz vanilla pudding (not instant)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3 1/2 cups canned sliced peaches
Reserve syrup from peaches

Topping:

8 oz cream cheese; softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 tb reserved syrup
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pudding mix, egg and milk in large bowl. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour into greased 9 or 10" pie pan. Place drained peach slices over batter.

2. Combine cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar and 3 T reserved syrup; beat 2 minutes. Spoon to within 1 " of edge of batter. Sprinkle top with sugar and cinnamon.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

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