Peaches

The peach is a tree native to China and is classified along with the almond genus. There, the peach is symbolic of long life. There are three main types of peaches: clingstone, where the peach clings to the pit; freestone, where it separates easily from the pit at any time; and semi-freestone, where the fruit pulls freely from the pit but only when the peach is completely ripe. Peaches come in yellow and white with the latter being slightly more sugary. There’s also a sub-species of the peach’the nectarine’ whose only difference is the ‘fuzzy’ gene. Peaches have it; nectarines don’t. There are no fuzzless varieties. Most people do not like fuzz, so commercial growers mechanically brush peaches after harvest to remove the fuzz. Besides being deliciously sweet to eat, peaches also offer a wealth of health for any body. A cup of raw peach slices provides 10 percent of your daily dietary fiber intake, as well as 19 percent of vitamin C, 11 percent of vitamin A and nine percent of potassium. Peaches are naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium for only 60 calories per succulent peach. Peaches also provide boron which aids in calcium absorption, folate and other nutrients that reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and helps to maintain vision health and a healthy immune system. Peaches can help to prevent constipation and alleviate hemorrhoids and aids in digestion. Perfect peaches should smell sweet and have skin with golden yellow or creamy white undertones. Choose plump, well-shaped, slightly soft peaches. Blush has nothing to do with ripeness, and a lack of fragrance or a greenish hue is a sign the fruit was picked too early. Peaches do not get any sweeter once they are picked. They do get softer and juicier, but never sweeter. That is why it is important to avoid rock hard peaches that were picked when they were still green. Peaches will keep up to a week in the fridge or a few days on the counter. They maintain the same nutritional value whether you enjoy them over cereal, dip them into yogurt, toss them into salads or pancakes or mix them into salsas, smoothies and marinades. They also make delicious jams, jellies, pies and cobblers. In the U.S., peaches are the third most popular fruit behind apples and oranges. Locally grown peaches purchased at this time of year are sweeter and juicier than winter peaches imported from Chile, Mexico and New Zealand. Winter peaches are often mealy and dry. Peaches are available in Texas from April through August. For an inclusive list of Texas- grown peaches, visit www.gotexan.org. You can also call the GO TEXAN toll-free phone number at 1-877-99GO-TEX. So when you have a sweet tooth this summer or a case of the major munchies, satisfy both by reaching for a peach. Yogurt Parfait 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt 1/3 cup bran cereal cup sliced peaches In a large glass, layer half of the yogurt, half of the bran cereal, and half of the fruit. Repeat the layers. Next week: Dates Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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