Peaches—the fruit with the colours of the rising sun—makes for a delightful sight. Like the sun, it is packed with several benefits. Peaches are grown in countries with a cool climate, but are available everywhere. They are particularly known for their nutritional content and versatility— they can be added to breakfast cereals, salads, desserts and can be eaten raw or canned.
The goodness of peaches
- Peaches are good for one’s overall health as they are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, niacin and dietary fibre and are low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium.
- They are good for the skin and are known to add colour to the complexion. The protein content helps tissue repair, while vitamin C boosts production of collagen.
- Being a rich source of dietary fibre, they are considered a good weight loss food [as well as in a diabetic’s diet plan]. If consumed on a regular basis, the fibre in the peaches also ensures smooth bowel movements.
- Peaches possess strong diuretic and mild laxative properties, making them a good fruit to eat in case of gout.
- Being a dense source of vitamin A, they help prevent cancer.
- Peaches due to their high potassium content help in maintaining healthy blood pressure as well as aid in prevention of kidney stones and bone loss.
- Peaches contain essential minerals like zinc, magnesium, manganese that are required by our body in trace quantities to support red blood cell, bone and nervous system health.
- Peaches are rich in vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and inhibits the impact of free radicals by acting as an antioxidant.
- Peaches have effective antioxidant properties, strong anti-microbial properties and good tumour-growth inhibiting properties. In the old days, they were consumed to eliminate worms from the intestinal tract.
Buy fruits that are fragrant, soft to touch and blemish free. Fresh peaches are yellow or cream in colour. The red blush on the peach makes it look beautiful but is not a sign of how it will taste once it ripens. Raw peaches take around 1 – 3 days to ripe and should not be refrigerated or stored in plastic bags or under direct sunlight. Store them at room temperature packed loosely in a paper bag. You can refrigerate them after they ripen.
Don’t buy peaches in bulk, unless you’re sure you will finish them as they are highly perishable. Ripe peaches do not last more than 4 – 5 days.
How to eat
Wash the peaches thoroughly with cool soapy water and rinse them well before consumption. Unless required for a specific recipe, don’t remove the peel as it is rich in nutrients and is to be eaten along with the flesh.
The right way to peel the skin is to first blanch the peaches in hot water for about a minute. Then dip them in cool water and peel.
The flesh of a peach is either white or yellow. The white one is more sugary, while the yellow has slightly tangy flavour. Being naturally sweet, they can be added as a sweetener to recipes to reduce the calorie count.
- Sprinkle lemon juice on cut peaches to retain their lovely colour on cooking.
- Skin of peaches is edible. However, if you want to remove it for some recipe, simply immerse in boiling water for one minute. Remove and immediately put them in cold water. The skin them easily comes. However, don’t keep in water for long.
- If you are eating peaches raw and don’t like the fuzz, just wash the peaches under water for longer and the fuzz will get washed off.
Don’t have if…
Some people are allergic to the skin of peaches. But they can eat the peeled flesh.
Did you know?
- Peaches belong to the rose family. No wonder they have such a beautiful colour.
- Peaches are of two types: cling or clingstone and freestone. The flesh of cling peaches clings to the hard core that contains the seed while that of freestone peaches easily separates from the core.
- Johnston, South Carolina is considered the world’s peach capital.
- Peaches without the fuzz are called nectarines.
This was first published in the August 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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