IT’S PEACH PICKIN’ TIME
When May and June roll around, it’s time to start checking the farmers markets and produce stands for one of the South’s most prized summer orchard picks…peaches! The Mississippi Farmers Market Fresh Produce Availability Calendar shows peach season as starting in mid-May and running through the month of July, but for real, “sho’ ‘nuf” peach lovers the time when fresh, juicy peaches are around is never long enough. And there’s nothing like biting into a locally grown peach that was hanging on a Mississippi tree just hours before. So take advantage of the abundance of peaches straight from a farm near you.
What’s so great about peaches?
Besides having great flavor and being low in calories (just about 68 calories for an average sized peach), peaches offer a powerhouse of nutritional benefits that support a healthy diet and fight disease.
- Heart Health. The fiber, potassium and vitamin C in peaches help to support heart health and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Diabetes. The fiber in peaches may help to lower blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetics and may improve blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels in type 2 diabetics.
- Obesity. Peaches contain four phenolic compounds: anthrocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetins and catechins, which work together to fight obesity-related illness.
- Cancer. Peaches are an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help fight the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.
- Skin. Vitamin C found in peaches is key to the formation of collagen, helps to fight skin damage from sun and pollution and improves overall skin texture.
Peach perfect from breakfast to dinner and beyond
Peaches are a versatile addition for any meal or snack. Here are just a few ways to enjoy peaches while they are plentiful.
- Slice fresh peaches over oatmeal and cold cereal or as a topper for pancakes, waffles and French toast.
- Add a peach half to a quick lunch for a nutrition-packed side.
- Serve sliced peaches over yogurt for a mid-afternoon snack.
- Add fresh or frozen peaches to your favorite smoothie.
- Grill peach halves for a sweet summer side dish or dessert.
Grilled peaches are a snap to prepare and can be dressed up for a sweet or savory treat that is the perfect compliment to your cookout.
- 4 to 6 ripe peaches
- Olive oil
- Heat gas grill to medium or if you are cooking over charcoal wait until the fire has died down to medium to low heat.
- Cut Peaches along their seams and twist off their pits. (Freestone varieties work best.)
- Brush the cut side with olive oil and place, cut side down on the grill. Cook until they have developed grill marks and have started to soften – about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Brush the tops with oil, turn over and move to the side of the grill to cook over indirect heat for another 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add flavor by brushing peaches with maple syrup and bourbon, molasses and butter, honey and cinnamon, or a glaze of balsamic vinegar that has been reduced by half.
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