What A Peach!
You can go nuts or maybe bananas. You can be sour as a grape, work for peanuts, or be as cool as a cucumber. But when you stop to think about it, how many other edibles have generated such positive comments as the following: It's peachy keen. You have a peaches-and-cream complexion. You are a real peach. That's a peach! What a peach! Peaches are one of the summer's sweetest offerings. These peachy recipes are perfect summer desserts.
Peaches, and their close kin nectarines, are one of summertime's greatest glories. These look-alikes share appearances and flavors, but with a small difference. Nectarines have a smooth skin and are slightly smaller. Nectarines are not a cross between a plum and a peach, as some people think. Nectarines are also not considered the "queen" of fruits, as peaches are. And they are not synonymous with the great state of Georgia. Do you ever hear people talk about sweet Georgia nectarines? Didn't think so.
Native to China, peaches have a long and noble history filled with myths and enchantment, for the Chinese believe that peaches confer immortality (one of the Eight Immortals is depicted carrying a peach), and even better, peaches contribute to man's fertility. That is probably why giving a peach branch during the Chinese New Year celebrations symbolizes the bringing of good luck and a big family. From China, peaches made their way to Europe via Persian traders, and made a big impression on ancient Romans, who began the sweet fruit's cultivation. By the mid-sixteenth century, the first peaches arrived in the New World, and thanks to the natives, were carried eventually across the new frontier.
Peaches grow in several states
Although peaches grow now in several states, Georgia has claimed the prize for showing off their peaches more dramatically than any other state. Would you have guessed that South Carolina used to rank number one as a peach-producing state, producing more than 40 varieties of peaches? California proudly produces the most peaches. And even New Jersey honors its Jersey peaches. Whether you enjoy Georgian, Californian, Mexican, or Alabaman peaches, these fuzzy orange fruits reach their full flavor profile from late June through August.
Freestone and Clingstone
When you buy peaches (or nectarines), remember that they fall into one of two different categories: freestone or clingstone, with a third new one, the semi-freestone.
These designations refer to if the fruit flesh either clings to the stone (clingstone) or splits away from it easily (freestone). Whichever type you buy, look for peaches that are round, firm and have a red blush that overlays a rich yellow (or white) skin. Plan to cook and eat your peaches as soon as possible for the juiciest and sweetest tastes of summer. Here are two dessert recipes to get you started.
Summer dessert recipes with peaches
Serves 8 A peach pie, but in miniature form! You will need large 3-inch-round muffin cups to hold the ingredients. Ingredients:
Peach-Nectarine Tapioca Pudding
Serves 6 Using the old-fashioned goodness of tapioca, this dessert is reminiscent of childhood treats. Ingredients: