Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Cooking and Produce
It's that peachy time of year
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County, University of Missouri Extension
It’s time to take advantage of fresh juicy peaches. Peaches are a healthy choice for a snack when picked right off the tree but their other uses are endless. For best flavor and lasting quality, it’s important to know how to choose and store them.
When buying or picking fresh peaches, choose the ones that have a sweet smell and a golden background color. The red blush on the peach is pretty but it is not an indicator that it is ripe. The peach should “give” slightly. If you happen to get a slightly under-ripe peach, store it in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature and check daily for ripeness.
Washed, fresh, ripe peaches can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. They taste best if they are served at room temperature. If you are using a recipe that calls for fresh peaches, the skin can be easily removed by dipping it in boiling water for 30 seconds and then dropped immediately in cold water. One pound of fresh or about 2-4 medium peaches yields 2 cups of sliced or 1/1/2 cups pureed fruit.
Peaches are great added to cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding or ice cream. They can be canned or frozen or pureed and dried as fruit leather. A peach smoothie can be a great breakfast or snack. In a blender, mix one cup of peaches, ½ cup milk, 4 ice cubes, and one cup of plain, lemon or vanilla yogurt and pour into two chilled glasses. You can freeze the peaches and omit the ice cubes if desired. You can also make your own granola bars:
Peach Crunch Bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup honey
½ cup butter or margarine
2 cups sliced peaches
2 cups granola
Spray a 9” square pan with oil. Combine flours, brown sugar and granola in a large bowl. Stir in honey and melted margarine until mixture is crumbly. Press half of the mixture into the baking pan and arrange the sliced peaches on top. Sprinkle remaining mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; cool and cut into bars.
You can learn more about peaches in University of Missouri’s Harvest to Health series of handouts at: http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/harvesttohealth/peaches.htm.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009