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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
peach 1

Summertime and the Livin' is Healthy

Posted by Caitlin Mellendorf -

In the midst of summer, are you feeling peachy? I hope so, because it is National Peach Month and the peaches are sweet, delicious, and ready to eat! And eat! And eat!

Like many of the foods mentioned throughout this blog, there is a lot to say that makes peaches unique.

  • We are mostly used to round peaches, but have you seen the flatter donut peaches? No, they do not taste like a donut, but have that sort of shape.
  • And while we are used to the inside flesh of peaches looking yellow or maybe a little yellow-orange, peaches are also available with white flesh. And while grown less often, some peach varieties have red flesh.
  • Now, what about a nectarine? These are still peaches, but a variant of peaches where the skin does not become fuzzy.

Find sweet, juicy peaches on your plate for a tasty fruit good for your health. Peaches are a great typical fruit: a source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber; low in calories; and not a source of sodium or fat. In a medium peach with skin, you eat 58 calories, 14g carbohydrate, and 2g fiber, along with 285mg potassium and 489 IU vitamin A. That vitamin A – in the form of carotenoids – promotes eye and skin health.

Peaches are readily available in Illinois during summer, particularly in Southern Illinois. Check your local stores, farmer's markets, roadside stands, and even orchards for peaches. Read below to pick and store your peaches for best quality:

  • Buy: Choose firm peaches or those that "give" slightly to the touch. Peaches should have a sweet smell and a yellow-gold skin color. Avoid peaches that are green, brown, wrinkled, bruised, overly soft or ripe, or show other decay.

Note: When available, choose freestone peaches that will separate easily from the pit. Clingstones will be much harder to cut nicely since the pit holds onto the flesh.

  • Price: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fresh peaches are priced $1.84 per pound on average and $1.05 per pound when canned. Since you can get 2-4 medium peaches per pound, offer 2-4 people a peach costing $0.46-$0.92 each.

Note: Since each peach yields about 1 cup of cut fruit, a single whole peach meets half of daily fruit needs for most people.

  • Store: If peaches are already ripe, consume as soon as possible. Ripe peaches will be firm but yield to pressure and have a strong "peachy" smell. If peaches still need to ripen, store in a closed paper bag at room temperature and check ripeness daily. After peaches are ripe, they can be stored in a refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • Prepare: Inspect peaches for cuts, bruises, or mold. Discard those with mold and cut away bruised areas. To cut peaches, run a knife in a circle around the peach, starting from the stem end. Twist peach around the cut in opposite directions to release the halves. If the pit clung to a peach halve, remove it by cutting the peach in half again or use a spoon to scoop the pit out.
  • Eat: Wash peaches prior to eating or cutting. Eat peaches whole right off the pit or cut as desired. Peaches are great fresh on their own or added to recipes.

Reference: Clemsom University Extension, Everything About Peaches, 2013

As much as I like a fresh peach, this Orange-Peach Smoothie is a great treat on a hot summer day that reminds me of an orange creamsicle.

Orange-Peach Smoothie (serves 4)

This recipe covers 2 food groups from MyPlate: fruit and dairy. Try it for breakfast with an egg-and-veggie omelet with whole grain toast for an entire MyPlate meal.

Keep the skins on the peaches for fun orange flecks in your smoothie, and you get extra fiber too!

2 fresh peaches (or 2 cups frozen peach slices, thawed)
6 oz. orange or orange crème yogurt
6 oz. vanilla yogurt

1. Combine peaches and both yogurts in a blender. Puree until blended and smooth. Divide among 4 glasses and serve cold.

Variation: If you want a frostier smoothie, use frozen peach slices or add several ice cubes to the blender.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 110 calories, 1g fat, 40mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g protein

WEB HIGHLIGHT 1: For Everything About Peaches, visit with Clemson University Extension.

WEB HIGHLIGHT 2: Are those extra peaches crowding you out of your home? Learn more about preserving them at the National Center for Home Food Preservation through the University of Georgia. Try freezing them or making jam.

WORD HIGHLIGHT: Drupe: Peaches are a fruit called a drupe, in reference to their inside pit or seed. Other drupes include nectarines, apricots, plums, and cherries (see the Cheery, Cherry Summer entry for more on cherries).

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