Nothing says July in Canada like biting into a juicy peach! And did you know that Ontario leads Canada in both peach and nectarine production with 82% of the national production? We have two main varieties grown in Ontario – the semi-freestone and freestone. The flesh of these semi-freestone peaches partially clings to the pit and is excellent for eating out-of-hand. The flesh of a freestone peach separates easily from the pit, making it perfect both for eating fresh, baking and preserving. Delicious sweet peaches are available seasonally from June to September. Let’s explore another one of my fond food memories from childhood – the peach.
Fun Peachie Facts
- Peaches (also known as Prunus persica) are fuzzy-skinned fruits known as a stone fruit.
- Delicious sweet peaches have been grown since the prehistoric ages and were first cultivated in China. They are considered a Chinese symbol of immortality and friendship.
- Peaches grow best in warm, temperate climates.
- The Niagara Fruit Belt is about 65 kilometres and is one of the richest fruit-producing areas in Canada. It hosts Peach Festivals over the summer.
- Close relatives of almonds, peach seeds are used as an almond oil substitute in cosmetic preparations.
- The Famous French painter, Renoir, encouraged students to improve their painting skills by reproducing the textures and colours of peaches.
One medium peach has only 60 calories, 2 grams of fibre, is a good source of vitamin C and beta-carotene and the mineral potassium. Plus it has many antioxidants including catechin.
Peaches and Digestive Health
We have known for decades that a meal plan rich in fruits and vegetables contribute to a positive digestive health by increasing gut transit time and preventing constipation (1). Adding thirst quenching peaches to your meals and snacks is a good choice to meet your daily fruit and veggie recommendations while keeping your gut happy!
Peaches and Immune Health
Peaches are good sources of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Both are associated with positive immune health. Studies have shown diets rich in fruits and vegetables including peaches help boost the immune system because they are a good source of these nutrients (2, 3). Eat the fuzzy skin as it has the most of the vitamin C and beta-carotene!
Buying and Storing Peaches
- When you buy peaches, buy ones that are free of bruises and have a deep, fruity aroma.
- Pick peaches with a yellow or cream background colour and avoid green undertones.
- If you’re eating them or using them in a recipe immediately, select peaches that are slightly soft to the touch.
- When you are ripening at home, pick peaches that are firm but not hard. Keep in mind that peaches ripen quickly. Place them in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature for 1-2 days.
- Once ripened, use immediately or refrigerate them for up to 5 days.
- It is important to remember not to refrigerate unripen peaches.
Fire up the BBQ and make these delicious Ontario peach and pork brochettes from Ontariotenderfruit.ca for your next weekend gathering. And try this delicious peachy pecan barley chai bread from my friends at GoBarley.com. It’s perfect with yogurt for breakfast, plus I love it with afternoon tea.
- Cummings J, Branch W, Jenkins D, Southgate D, Houston H, James P. Colonic response to dietary fibre from carrot, cabbage, apple, bran and guar gum. The Lancet. 1978; 311: 5-9.
- Gil M, Tomas-Barberan F, Hess-Pierce B, Kader A. Antioxidant capacities, phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and vitamin c content of nectarine, peach, and plum cultivars from California. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2002; 50: 4976-4982.
- Nantz M, Rowe C, Nieves C, Percival S. Immunity and its antioxidant capacity in humans is enhanced by consumption of a dried, encapsulated fruit and vegetable juice concentrate. The Journal of Nutrition. 2006; 136: 2606-2610.