July and August are peak months for fresh peaches in Virginia and summer is great time to enjoy this heart-healthy fruit. The peachy tips and recipes below can help your family get started!
Peaches provide a heart-healthy punch
Peaches are sometimes called the queen of fruits.1 One cup of sliced fresh peaches contains about 293 milligrams of potassium and 60 calories. Potassium is an electrolyte essential for a healthy heart. Peaches are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and flavonoids. Some studies suggest that higher flavonoid intakes may significantly reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Tips for selecting and storing peaches
- Fresh peaches will have a rich color and may still have a slight whitish color. Storing peaches inside a paper bag hastens the ripening process. Never buy greenish peaches and avoid fruit with bruised or damaged skin.1
- Peaches do not keep well, but firm fruit can be kept at room temperature for a day or so to soften. Ripe peaches will yield to gentle pressure, feature a sweet smell, and can be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for a couple of days.1
- Fresh peaches can be eaten whole, including the skin.
- Sliced peach sections turn brown on exposure to air. If you serve fresh sliced peaches, rinse the slices in water mixed with few drops of fresh lemon juice to stop them from turning brown quickly.
- Canned peaches contain more than twice the amount of sugar than fresh peaches. If you are purchasing canned peaches, select ones that are in juice or water (not syrup).
Recipes featuring fresh peaches
Tomato Peach Salad
– 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
–4 ripe but firm yellow peaches, cut into wedges
–4 tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
–1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
–6 Tbsp of ricotta cheese
–Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!
– ½ cup of Quick Oats
– 1 cup of 2 percent milk
– 1 Tbsp brown sugar or 2 packs of artificial sweetener
– ½ cup fresh peaches (or diced canned peaches in juice)
– ¼ tsp of vanilla
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine oats, milk and sugar. If using fresh peaches, add them to the oatmeal mixture before microwaving so they will cook and become softened. Microwave the mixture on HIGH power for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir in vanilla. If using canned peaches, fold them into the oatmeal mixture after microwaving.
Peachy S’mores Super Snacks
– 12 graham crackers
– 1 package of light cream cheese
– 2 Tbsp honey
– ½ tsp cloves
– ½ tsp cinnamon
– 5 sliced peaches
– 3 Tbsp butter
– ½ tsp ginger
Split crackers just like regular s’mores. Combine cream cheese, honey, cloves and cinnamon. Mix together until smooth and spread on crackers. Melt butter in a sauté pan. Add peaches, brown sugar and ginger and sauté until heated. Top the graham crackers with the peach mixture and “sandwich up” to enjoy this healthy take on a summer favorite!
Grilled Peach and Corn Salsa
– 3-4 ripe peaches, halved
– 1 large onion, cut into thick slices
– 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– Two grilled ears of corn on the cob (directions for grilling corn below)
– 1 Tbsp minced fresh chili (like jalapeno or Thai) to taste or hot red pepper flakes/cayenne pepper to taste
– 1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
– 2 chopped scallions
– 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Thai basil or mint leaves
– 2 Tbsp lime of lemon juice
– Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Brush the peaches and onions with the olive oil. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to fairly low heat and put the rack with the peaches about 4 inches from the heat. Cook until soft or slightly charred, turning twice, about 8 minutes. Remove the slices as they finish cooking and chop into bite-sized chunks when cool enough to handle, saving as much of the juice as possible. Combine the peaches and onion with the chili, ginger, scallions, basil or mint, and lime or lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut the corn off the cob and add it to the peach mixture. Mix gently to combine all ingredients.
To grill corn: Heat a grill until moderately hot and put the corn on a rack about 4 inches from heat. Grill or roast the corn, turning occasionally, for 10-20 minutes or until some of the kernels char a bit. You can brush the corn with olive oil before grilling if you like. Cooking corn in an oven heated to 500 degrees is another option for a grilled or roasted flavor.
by Neysa Serra-Valentin, Dietetic Intern, and Ashley Cappel, Registered Dietitian, CHoR’s Healthy Lifestyles Center