The Magnificent Peach
Summertime not only brings along warm weather, more sun, and an all-around relaxing time, Mother Nature is kind enough to give us sweet, delicious fruit. Fresh fruit is a simple pleasure in life that can bring so much joy. However, few fruits are as juicy and delectable as the peach. It’s cute and fuzzy outside gives way to a dripping wet-filled center with a sweet liquid that makes you wish that fresh quality peaches were available all year round.
Besides its flavor, the best thing about peaches is their extreme versatility and health benefits. Native of China, peaches are full of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. They also contain vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamins B1, B2, and B6, and folate. Even better peaches are rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. They are also a wonderful source of dietary fiber and are very low in calories for the perfect snack. Delicious and full of the good stuff!
Here are just a few ways peaches will benefit your health, and your life, with their countless vitamins and minerals:
• Antioxidants to benefit all-around health
• Beta-carotene to promote good eyesight
• Phenolic and carotenoid compounds which are known cancer fighting properties
• Potassium to increase your body’s metabolic process
• Benefits pregnancy by providing folate to the baby and fiber to quell constipation
Peaches also aid in the following health concerns:
• Healthier skin
• Better digestion
• Reduces risk of obesity
• Anti-aging compounds
• Healthier bones and teeth
• Lowers cholesterol
With all of these benefits why wouldn’t you eat peaches? Peaches taste great and can be incorporated into many food and meals. You can have a peach smoothie for breakfast and incorporate them into summer salads too. Peaches go great with some fresh greens. They are also used as filling for warm baked desserts such as tarts, cobblers, and pies. They also make great fruit toppings for ice cream or pancakes. You can even make peach pancakes! Not to mention peach sorbet, peach ice cream, candied peaches, peach jam and jelly, and peach cake. Peaches blend well into many dishes and since they are low in calories, and as you saw, absolutely filled to the brim with healthy goodness, you shouldn’t feel bad anymore about indulging in your grandma’s peach cobbler.
Canned peaches, possibly put there by a man… in a factory down town… (please see the video below),
and peaches in fruit cups are always available but nothing beats a fresh, perfectly ripe peach.
Since peaches are native to China, China is actually the biggest outsource provider of peaches in the world. They have the soil for it but does a peach sent from around the world sound like the best peach there is? Sure it is good, and we appreciate China sharing the peach love, but it could be better. More fresh. We all know that food grown in our own backyard simply tastes better than anything store bought, and it is better for the environment as well.
Have you ever considered growing your own peaches? Peaches come from trees and if you live in the right climate, and have the space, you have the ability to have you own home grown peaches.
There are numerous peach tree varieties and the real trick to growing your own peaches is to pick the type that will grow well in your climate. USDA zone 6 and 7 will grow the best peach tree, but zones 5, 8, 9, and 10 will also do the trick with a bit more effort. Peach trees may not tolerate colder climates but there are a few varieties that manage better in the cold.
To make things even easier, you may simply plant some peach pits. Be sure to plant a few to guarantee that one will germinate and get you that amazing peach tree.
For anyone else wanting a more guaranteed tree, buy a peach tree suited for your climate that is at least one year old. The tree will need full sun and an area with fertile soil. Don’t plant too low because frost typically settles in lower areas. Peach trees reach full bloom in the summer so you will want to plant sometime in the spring. Ideally after the risk of frost is gone.
Gardeners generally say the best time to plant is after Mother’s Day, so mid-May should be great. You will also want to plant your tree as soon as you get it, so plan that accordingly as well.
Dig a hole that is wider and deeper than the spread of the roots on top of a small mound of soil and gently spread the roots out before covering with dirt. If you have the space and plan on doing many trees, be sure to plant them at least 15-20 feet apart so they don’t steal nutrients from each other.
You will have to nourish the tree as the peach will nourish you. Six weeks after planting, spread nitrogen fertilizer around the tree. You will keep fertilizing the tree in increments as the years go on. Prune the tree as well to promote further growth. The peaches will be ready to harvest when fully ripe, or when there is no more green on the fruit. They should come off easily with a slight twist. Peaches can be stored in a bag in the refrigerator for up to five days, or in the freezer. You can also pickle or can your peaches to use them throughout the year.
This super fruit is delectable and will benefit your health in more ways than you can count. Even if you can’t grow your own tree, you should horde fresh peaches all summer to save for your winter baking or utilize them in summer dishes. Even better, just bite into it and savor them to the last drop.