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Decoding Spring Produce: Peaches - The Juicy Jewel of the Season

Decoding Spring Produce: Peaches - The Juicy Jewel of the Season

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When the warm weather is with us, it means that lots of great fruits and vegetables are going to be at their best. Before you make your way to the farmer's market or supermarket, here is some advice on picking produce as well as some great recipes you can prepare with that produce.

Previously we looked at stinging nettles, asparagus, artichokes, grapes, and strawberries. This time, we're looking at the fruit that signals that summer is coming: peaches.

Peaches

Look for peaches to start coming into their own as early as May, though they are generally better in mid-to-late June. Along with being good sources of vitamins A and C, peaches are also a good source of potassium. When picking peaches, color is not the best indicator of ripeness. Smell the peach for sweetness or choose fruit that feels heavy for its size. The old squeezing method is mostly useful if you have personal firmness preferences.

Grilled Peach Dessert

Dessert
Serves two to four

  • 2 peaches, halved and pits removed
  • 1 Tbl sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 2 oz Limoncello or other lemon liqueur, frozen to a syrupy consistency
  • Canola or vegetable oil

1. Preheat grill to high heat.

2. Whisk together the mascarpone and Limoncello until it has the consistency of soft serve ice cream.

3. Brush the sliced side of the halved peaches with oil.

4. Lay the peaches sliced side down on the grill until they are nicely marked. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Flip peaches over onto a cooler part of the grill.

6. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the peaches.

7. Remove peaches from the grill.

8. Place a scoop of the whipped mascarpone and Limoncello onto or beside each peach half.

Red Wine Peach Salad

Salad or Appetizer
Serves four

  • 3 peaches, sliced
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1 bulb fennel, medium; shaved thin or julienne
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted; sliced or crushed
  • 1/4 lb arugula
  • 1 Tbl olive oil

1. Place peaches into re-sealable plastic bag with red wine. Squeeze out all the air and close the bag.

2. Allow the peaches to marinate for at least one hour in the fridge.

3. Strain off the peaches and combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

4. Season with salt and pepper.

Buying produce when it's in season is a fun practice, and you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint as well. Getting fruits and vegetables in season means that you actually have to get out and look at what's available; you have to commit to checking out your local farmer's markets where you can talk to and interact with the growers. But that extra effort isn't so bad: fresh air, getting out in your community, talking to new people. It's actually a good time for everyone.

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