What’s in the Garden?
Peaches are the perfect summer fruit. They are sweet, juicy, tangy, and every bite brings to mind wonderful summer memories… This stone fruit is a member of the rose family and is a cousin to cherries, apricots, plums and even almonds.
Blush Colored Gems at Long Beach Farmers Markets
Walk through any Long Beach Farmers’ Market and baskets are overflowing with beautiful ripe blush colored fruit. Cling free peaches are the ones everybody loves to eat. White peaches are the sweetest. The fun donut shaped peach has velvet skin, and is not quite as sweet as the others. When picking out the perfect peach make sure there is a blush color near the stem and on the shoulder of the peach under the deep yellow and orange tones. This shows that the peach ripened on the tree, and will have the most flavor. Peaches do not store well, and tend to bruise easily. So be sure to handle them will care.
Plant a Tree
Peaches originated in China and date back to the 10th Century. They were the Emperor’s favorite fruit, and quickly travelled the Silk Road to Persia. Spanish explorers brought them to South America. George Minifle brought peaches to the New World in the 17th Century, and planted a peach tree on an estate in Virginia. It later became Georgia’s state fruit.
California is the number one producer of peaches in the United State. China is the largest producer in the world with Italy at a close second. Living in Southern California it makes sense to plant a peach tree in your garden. Plant it in early winter, and in a spot that gets full sun. It requires regular watering, and be sure to increase the water right before harvest. Peach trees are a good pollen source for honey bees
Peaches – Good for Your Health
Peaches are a perfect snack loaded with vitamins A, B, C, and only 35 calories. This small fruit packs a strong punch.
- Peaches help calm your stomach
- Help reduce stress
- Have a diuretic effect; cleansing the bladder and kidneys
- Rich in antioxidants; help prevent cancer
- Help keep skin healthy
Creative Ways to Eat Peaches
- Grill for a healthy dessert
- Slice and serve raw on top of cereal, yogurt, and pancakes ( do not forget to dust with powdered sugar for extra sweetness)
- Poach in sugar, lemon, and water / brandy / white wine, and honey / red wine, cinnamon, cloves, sugar, and lemon rind
- Add peach juice and fresh slices to sparkling wine or traditional Italian Prosecco and create a bubbly Bellini. Be sure to garnish with a sprig of rosemary to add a complex flavor profile
- Can, jam, jelly, and preserve
- Even freeze for a special treat during a cold dark winter day
- Bake peaches into a crisp, pie, or an all-time favorite cobbler.
Who wants to turn on the oven during the hot days of summer? Nobody! Think outside… Bake a peach cobbler in a cast iron Dutch oven in your back yard or on your next camping trip. It is easy – Here’s how…
Cake – Dry Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar ( natural cane sugar)
- 1 tbl baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Helpful Hint: If making the cobbler at your camp site put dry ingredients in mason jars so you can easily pack it. Then poor wet ingredients into it, put the lid on and shake to mix.
Cake – Wet Ingredients:
- 1tbl olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tbl butter – use (1) tbl on bottom and (2) dotted on top
- 5-6 fresh peaches – sliced
- Juice and zest of (1) lemon
- 3/4 cup walnuts – chopped
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Helpful Hint: If fresh peaches are not in season use canned peaches. Be sure to drain all liquid.
- Heat (25) coals
- Mix wet ingredients in a bowl and set aside
- Line Dutch oven with parchment paper
- Use (1) tbl of butter to rub on parchment paper
- Line peaches on the bottom of the Dutch oven
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients (mason jar) and shake
- Pour batter on top of peaches
- Put walnut topping on top of batter
- Dot remaining (2) tbl of butter on top of the walnuts
- Put the lid on the Dutch oven and set the Dutch Oven over (8) coals
- Put the remaining 16) coals on top of the lid
- Cook for (45) minutes to an hour turning very (15) minutes so it does not burn
- When finished baking the top should be a nice golden brown
Helpful Hint: Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If you are camping the camp store should have both!
Did you know???
- To prevent peaches from turning brown just add fresh lemon juice.
- In China the peach is a symbol of good luck, perfection, and longevity.
- August is National Peach Month.
- California produces 51% of all peaches in the US.
- Roald Dahl the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also wrote another great novel, James and the Giant Peach.
- The state of Georgia has over 65 streets with word peach tree.
Now that you have peaches on the brain… Slice a fresh peach and create more summer memories.