August is National Peach Month, making it a great time to indulge in this sweet, juicy, nutritious and low-calorie fruit. Peaches are rich in vitamins A and C and also deliver niacin, folate, iron, potassium and manganese, among other vitamins and minerals. One fresh peach is approximately 60 calories and has two grams of fiber.
You might be surprised to learn that the peach tree is actually part of the rose family (as are plums and apricots). It”;s believed that the peach tree originated in China and spread westward. The first peach orchard in the United States was actually in Florida, though Georgia seems to get the most credit for their peach crops and is widely known as the “;Peach State”; due to the quantity they produce. While peaches are available year-round in the United States, they generally taste best and are more affordable during the summer months. Click here to learn how to know when fruits are in season >
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The United States has more than 300 varieties of peaches. Peaches are either yellow- or white-fleshed, though the vast majority in the U.S. are yellow. Peaches grown in Asia are typically white-fleshed.
When shopping for peaches, choose those that are firm to somewhat soft and free of bruises. The best indicator that a peach is ripe is the fruit”;s undertone, also known as its “;ground color.”; This should be dark yellow or golden. The red top color comes from sun exposure and isn”;t a ripeness indicator. A ripe peach also gives off that classic sweet peach smell.
There are many ways to eat a peach. Aside from eating them whole, peaches are also a great add-in for smoothies, salads or yogurt. They are also a great fruit to bake into recipes like waffles, pancakes or muffins.
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Here are three recipes where you can be creative with peaches and still enjoy all of their health benefits:
1. Grilled Peaches
If you”;ve never had a grilled peach, you”;re missing out! Grilling fruit, in general, caramelizes their sugar making the flavor even sweeter. Peach halves can be grilled for a delicious side or dessert. Click here to see the recipe! >
A delicious blend of peach, banana and spinach make this a nutritious smoothie that”;s also packed with flavor. Combined with almond milk and fresh grated ginger, this peach-based smoothie is ultra-creamy. Click here to see the recipe! >
Is it a breakfast or a dessert? This light-and-airy muffin recipe combining blackberries and peaches is reminiscent of a cake but without all the butter or excess sugar. It makes a delicious morning sweet treat or can definitely be served as a healthy dessert. Click here to see the recipe! >
When it comes to storing peaches, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends keeping whole peaches in the refrigerator for up to five days after they ripen. Cooked peaches should be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator to keep fresh.
If peaches are too hard and still need to ripen, the USDA recommends placing them loosely in a closed paper bag at room temperature. Check daily until they are soft and sweet–;and ready to eat. For tips on how to keep all of your produce fresh, click here. >
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