Peaches may never make the top spot on lists of “superfood,” but the stone fruit holds plenty of nutritional benefits beneath its fuzzy exterior.
Peaches are a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C, and are rich in antioxidants that have been shown to fend off obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
A large peach has fewer than 70 calories, with 17 grams of carbs and 2.5 grams of fiber.
We are heading into the peak of peach season, June 15 to July 15, according to the LSU AgCenter. In South Louisiana, regionally grown peaches can begin showing up as early as mid-April and continue into early August.
Crescent City Farmers Market is expecting peaches to begin arriving in early June. Most of the peaches come from farms such as Cherry Creek Orchards from Pontotoc, Mississippi.
A few tips:
- Look for ripe peaches that are just beginning to soften. The skin should have red, yellow or cream-colored areas. Very hard peaches with a greenish skin were picked too early and may never soften.
- Check the skins for deep bruising, disease and insect damage. Slight bruising is OK.
- Store peaches in a single layer in a cool spot at room temperature for three to four days. If keeping longer, refrigerate soft peaches and use within five days.
The stone fruit is delicious raw or paired with protein-rich Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. And if you haven’t had grilled peaches, you’ve got to try it. My favorite is to grill them on a cast-iron skillet or outdoor grill with a dash of cayenne or drizzle of honey. Peaches also make an incredible addition to salsa, curry, salads and smoothies — even cocktails and mocktails.
My gluten-free blueberry cobbler can be made with peaches. See a variation below.
Just one word of caution: I’ve had a few clients over the years who really love fruit and may have a tendency to overdo it, especially with peaches.
Standing over the sink, savoring their juicy goodness, they can easily go through four, five or more peaches at a time. For those watching sugars or carbs, keep in mind that you’ll get about 17 grams of carbs and 15 grams of sugar in every large peach.
Sure, it’s naturally occurring fruit sugar, but it still can add up quickly.
Still, don’t miss out on this refreshingly nutritious food of the season.Kick the sugar habit: Strategies, swap-outs to cut backLet the sugar lies inspire your New Year’s resolution.
This gluten-free, no-sugar-added cobbler adapted from Mellissa Sevigny’s recipe on her I Breathe I’m Hungry blog is incredibly easy and versatile: Try it with peaches or any favorite fruit. Xanthan gum is available at area grocery stores. Make it vegan by using coconut oil in place of butter.
No-Sugar-Added Peach Cobbler
Makes 8-10 servings
For the filling:
3 cups fresh or frozen bite-size pieces of peach (about 4 peaches)
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons zero-calorie sweetener
1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the topping:
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
1 1/3 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons zero-calorie sweetener
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine peaches, xanthan gum, sweetener and lemon juice. Mix well until blueberries are coated. Add the peach mixture to a 9-inch-by-9-inch pan (or small ramekins).
Melt the butter or coconut oil in the microwave in a large measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl. Stir in almond flour, sweetener and lemon zest. Mix with hands to form a crumbly dough.
Crumble dough in pea-sized clumps to cover the blueberries. Bake for 22 minutes for the casserole dish, or 16-18 minutes for ramekins, until the crust is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling. Serve hot or cold.
Per serving: 170 calories, 13.5 grams fat, 3.8 grams saturated fat, 10 mg sodium, 16 grams carbohydrate, 3.3 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 4 grams protein.
Bonus recipe: Goat Cheese Grilled Peach recipe by chef Ben Thibodeaux. Find more peach recipes at NOLA.com/recipes.