BUFFALO, Mo. — August is peach month and now is the season to enjoy this sweet little fruit according to Christeena Haynes, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
“A peach is a nutritious, low-calorie fruit to add to any meal or snack. They are a source of vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy and may lower your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers, and Vitamin C, which helps heal wounds,” said Haynes.
Peaches also contain potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure and magnesium assists with building strong bones. Fiber works to lower cholesterol and keep the gut healthy.
When selecting fresh peaches, Haynes says to choose fruit that is firm but soft to the touch. The color depends on the variety of the peach, and it is not an indication of how the fruit will taste. “They should have a strong, sweet smell. Avoid peaches that are blemished,” said Haynes.
Ripe peaches may be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for three to five days. If the fruit needs to ripen, keep the peaches in a paper bag at room temperature for one to three days or until ripe, and then refrigerate.
Peaches should be rinsed thoroughly before consuming or cooking with them. Peaches can be eaten with or without the peel, but keep in mind that many of the nutrients are contained in the peel according to Haynes.
“If you need to peel peaches for a recipe, it can be done quickly by blanching them in boiling water for a minute and then placing them immediately into ice water to stop the cooking,” said Haynes.
Lemon juice may be used on sliced peaches to maintain their bright color and prevent them from turning brown.
For more information on nutrition issues, go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or contact one of the nutrition and health education specialists working in the Ozarks: Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Kaume, Lydia in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; or Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Springfield, (417) 886-2059.
Information provided by MU Extension Southwest Region News Service.