Peaches originated in China and were migrated to Rome by the Persians. Spaniards carried the fruit to America in the sixteenth century. Indian tribes spread peach trees across the United States.
Peaches are most commonly grown in our southern states and are the second largest commercial fruit crop in the country, second only to apples. Italy, China and Greece are major producers of peaches outside of the United States.
Peaches contain potassium, and vitamins C and A. The fruit aids in digestion, has diuretic and laxative properties, and increases color in our skin. A large peach contains fiber and fewer than 70 calories.
There are two main varieties of peaches, clingstone (the flesh sticks to the stone) and freestone (the stone is easily separated from the flesh). There are white and yellow varieties; the paler peach is reputedly sweeter and less acidic.
The flesh of a peach should have a slight give, but use your whole hand to check since the fruit bruises so easily. Also, check for an even coloring of golden or creamy yellow.
We brought back a box of South Carolina peaches on our return from vacation. Last night I made a fabulous, sweet-tart, sorbet and thought you might like to take advantage of your remaining summer peaches with this recipe:
2 pounds of peaches, usually 7-8
1 ½ cups Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
1 large lemon, juiced
2 or 3 scrapes of fresh nutmeg against a grater
Cut an “X” on the bottom of each peach. Place in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove carefully and rinse in cold water. Peel off the skin and cut in half. Remove the pit. Cut the peaches into chunks and puree in a food processor or blender. Pour puree into a bowl and stir in simple syrup and lemon juice . Add nutmeg. Freeze in an ice cream maker using manufacturer’s instructions.
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate in a glass container. You can use the leftovers to make another batch or sweeten iced tea.