Nothing says summer like a sweet, juicy peach. Whether you’re grilling peaches or adding them to salads, purees, smoothies, or even a homemade batch of cobbler, this sign of the summer not only tastes delicious, it's also ripe with nutritional benefits. Check out the amazing nutrition and health benefits of peaches.
Peach Nutrition Facts
Peach nutrition makes them a great mobile snack or breakfast treat because they’re self-contained and they don’t need to be peeled. At the height of the season, you don’t need to add anything to a ripe peach. And it’s sweet enough to appease your sweet tooth. Not to mention that one medium-sized peach contains just 59 calories and less than one gram of fat. Peaches also contain 9 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fiber, 9 percent RDA for vitamin A, 16 percent RDA for vitamin C, 8 percent RDA for potassium, and 3 percent RDA for magnesium.
Health Benefits of Peaches
Peach health benefits are numerous. Researchers at Texas A&M University found that stone fruits like peaches (as well as plums and nectarines) have been shown to ward off obesity-related diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is because they contain bioactive and phenolic compounds that have anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Additionally, peaches are a great source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which kills the free radicals that can damage your cells as you age. This may be why another study at Texas A&M University found that peaches may actually kill breast cancer cells. Those who consume higher amounts of fruits in general have also been shown to have better eye health with age, specifically a reduced risk of macular degeneration, according to a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology.
Peach Season + Different Varietals
Peaches taste hard and sour when they’re not in season in the summer time. Fresh peaches are available in the South, especially Georgia and South Carolina, from mid-May until early August, but they’re at their peak in July. In Florida, peaches are harvested from April until late May. In California, peaches are harvested from early May until early September. And in the Northeast and Midwest, peach season is later, from July to September.
Most peach varieties in the Southeast are yellow-fleshed Freestones, but in the early season, the Clingstone variety is most commonly available. Though California grows more peaches, they're often used for canning because of their heartiness. Varieties like Springprince, Gulfprince, and Crimson Lady are good for canning.
When buying peaches, try and buy local whenever possible and when you're at the farmers market, take full advantage of samples before you buy. When it comes to peaches, the sweeter, the better. Look for a fragrant peach with vibrant color. Gently squeeze to see if your perfect peach gives a little.
Finally, always buy organic because peaches are number four on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list of the most heavily sprayed fruits and vegetables. A good organic peach will still run you less than $2 per pound.
How to Grill Peaches
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Peaches are fantastic on the grill. Cooked peaches taste even sweeter, especially when they’re paired with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. So the next time you see peaches at the market, grab a few extra for this simple and downright delicious summer dessert. Here's an easy recipe for how to grill peaches.
4 peaches, halved, pits removed
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Dollop of vanilla ice (optional)
Sprig of mint for garnish
1. Heat grill to medium-low.
2. Halve and pit peaches and then brush both sides with butter or oil.
3. Place peaches on grill, put down the hood, and cook until charred and softened, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Recipe: Martha Stewart
5 Sweet and Savory Peach Recipes
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2. Arugula, Peach and Walnut Salad
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4 peaches, cut into bite-sized slivers
6 cups washed arugula
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. maple syrup
Salt and pepper
1 oz. soft, mild goat cheese
1. Add peaches, arugula, and toasted walnuts to a bowl and toss with olive oil, vinegar, and maple syrup.
2. Top with goat cheese and season with salt and pepper.
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4. Southern Peach Cobbler
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8 peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar, divided (or use coconut sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. arrowroot powder
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water
3 Tbsp. white sugar (or use coconut sugar)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and arrowroot powder. Toss with your hands.
3. Add to a 2 quart greased and floured baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.
4. While that’s cooking, combine flour with remaining sugar, remaining brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the butter with your fingertips until it becomes a coarse meal. Then stir in the water.
5. Remove peaches from the oven and top with spoonfuls of the topping. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
5. Peach and Blueberry Mason Jar Parfaits
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2 cups coconut milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 Tbsp. plus 2 1/4 tsp. arrowroot powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
7 cups fresh peaches, peeled, sliced
1 pt. fresh blueberries
6 cups cubed angel food cake
Garnish with fresh mint sprigs
1. Whisk together coconut milk, egg, sugar, and arrowroot powder over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats a spoon, around 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
2. Cover and chill the mixture for a few hours.
3. Layer fruit and cake in 8 mason jars or tall glasses. Drizzle each with 1/4 cup vanilla sauce. Garnish, if desired.
Got any peach tricks up your sleeve? Favorite recipes or varieties? Let us know via Twitter @OrganicAuthorit
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