When you say the word peach the first thing that comes to one’s mind is peaches and cream complexion. That expression is used to describe a person who has a fair complexion with blushing pink cheeks. And that perhaps because the peaches look as if they blushing over a compliment given to them.
Peaches are a perennial favourite with most. They may have a large stone in the centre, but the juicy flesh that surrounds it makes up for its hardness. My daughters simply love this fruit and eagerly await its arrival as soon as summer sets in when it makes its entry into our markets alongside the king of fruit – mango. In our house both the fruits find equal favour.
And what’s more they are rich in necessary nutrients too. Very low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium, peaches are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin A, niacin, potassium, fluoride and iron and a very good source of antioxidant vitamin C.
The peach is a member of the rose family, cousin to apricots, cherries, plums and almonds. And each one of these is known for their taste, flavour and richness. So you see peaches keep an august company. All the same one has to be careful when buying them. In order that you choose the best of them, to ensure that you get to bite into the juiciest, sweetest peach, look out of these qualities:
An even background colour of golden yellow with a slight red blush. But do remember that the blush is not a sign that the peach is ripe. The peaches have a crease and it should be well-defined. The flesh should have a slight softness – which means it should neither be rock hard nor too mushy. Avoid a fruit which is green around the stem because they are not fully ripe. Avoid a fruit that has a shriveled skin for that means the fruit is not fresh. Most importantly, a peach should smell like a peach.
Also remember that peaches bruise easily. So while picking them, do not use your fingertips to check for firmness. Instead hold the whole fruit in your palms.
Till they ripen to perfection, store them on the counter at room temperature. And when they ripen they should be stored in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. This way they will keep fresh and firm for upto five days. And if you want them to ripen quickly so that you can enjoy them faster, store them in a paper bag.
I love to have peaches by themselves and my daughters enjoy them with cream. And, yes Peach smoothie is simply marvellous, an ideal drink with breakfast. How can one forget Peach Melba? Peach Melba, as we all know, is a classic European dessert – peach and raspberry sauce over vanilla icecream. Each time we make it at home I have atleast two helpings. Of course the next day I jog a few extra miles to make up for it. Fortunately peach is a seasonal fruit. These days you do get canned ones, but nothing like fresh ones, right?
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.