By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
The fuzzy skin against your lips, the sweet juice dripping down your chin… Nothing screams “summer!” like a ripe, juicy peach. So it makes perfect sense that July is National Peach Month, as President Reagan proclaimed it so in 1982.
The peach originated in China back around 1000 BC. To this day, China remains the world’s top producer, with Italy second.
The US provides about a quarter of the world’s supply of this fruit. Roughly 50% of US peaches come from California, with South Carolina and New Jersey yielding the second and third highest amounts, respectively. And despite being called the “Peach State,” Georgia actually comes in fourth among US states in peach production.
One medium peach has a measly 50 calories and only 13 grams of sugar, yet provides 6% of your daily vitamin A and 15% of your daily vitamin C requirements. Vitamin A is essential for eye and skin health, and proper immune function. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that also strengthens immunity and fights free radical damage that can lead to countless health problems like cancer, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Along with being one of the sweetest, most popular fruits of the summer, peaches also happen to have some pretty sweet nutritional and health benefits.
Moreover, peaches contain quite a bit of fiber to aid in gut and digestive health; the eye-protective antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin; and smaller amounts of other nutrients like vitamins K and E, folate, choline, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and more.
There really are very few downsides to peaches! If I had to name one, it’s that conventionally grown varieties tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides. Peaches and their smooth-skinned sister, nectarines, consistently land on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, which highlights the fruits and veggies that have the highest traces of pesticide residues. For this reason, I always recommend buying organic peaches (and nectarines) whenever possible.
This summer, get out to your local farmer’s market or fruit stand and take advantage of this amazing seasonal treat! There are only a few months out of the year where you can truly enjoy them.
Of course, you can simply eat it straight off the pit. Or if you want to get creative, try one of these easy and delicious recipes that incorporate peaches!
Summer Peach Recipes
Salsa is fun to make because you can add anything you like and omit whatever you don’t, so it’s highly customizable! Here is a peach salsa recipe you can adjust according to your personal taste.
Peach Salsa Ingredients:
- 3 fresh, medium sized peaches, peeled and diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
- ¼ to ½ cup red onion, diced
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced (depending on your preference for heat)
- ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ tsp salt blend (or to taste)
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and serve with cucumber slices, crackers, or tortilla chips. You can also serve on top of grilled chicken or seafood.
Spinach and Peach Salad
- 6 cups organic spinach (or any baby lettuce/greens blend you prefer)
- 3 fresh peaches, sliced
- ¼ to ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ cup feta or goat cheese crumbles
- ½ cup raw walnuts
- 1 to 2 Tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Arrange salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix together dressing ingredients. Add dressing to salad, toss, and serve.
Grilled Peach Caprese Salad
Grilling peaches elevates this fruit from snack/dessert to delectable main dish status. Fortunately, it is really easy to grill peaches.
- 2 beefsteak, heirloom, or other medium/large tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 3 peaches, pitted and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 2 8-oz balls of fresh mozzarella, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Basil flavored olive oil and organic balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Heat the grill to medium-high. While it’s heating up, brush both sides of the peach slices with olive oil.
Lay the peach slices on the hot, greased grill and close the lid. After about 1 minute, open and carefully flip the slices. Close the lid and grill for another 1 to 1.5 minutes.
Remove promptly and allow to cool.
Once cool, layer the tomato, mozzarella, and peaches on a plate, alternating the three ingredients around the entire plate. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a basil flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Grilled Peach Dessert
Here’s another easy, customizable grilled peach recipe—this time, for dessert!
- Fresh peaches, halved and pitted
- Local honey
- Ground cinnamon
Layer a piece of aluminum foil with parchment paper, and place each peach half on the paper. Drizzle with honey and cinnamon to taste. Close foil around each peach half. Place on grill and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, flipping halfway through. When soft, remove from grill and take the peaches out of the foil.
Top the peaches with a small scoop of homemade organic (unsweetened) whipped cream, or simply enjoy them as is!
From my heart to yours,
- Reagan, R. Proclamation 4947 – National Peach Month, 1982. ReaganLibrary.gov, June 15, 1982. Last accessed June 28, 2021 at https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/archives/speech/proclamation-4947-national-peach-month-1982
- Ensle K. Health Benefits of Peaches: a Delicious Summer Fruit. Rutgers.edu, June 2015. Last accessed June 23, 2021 at https://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/message/message.php?p=Health&m=301
© Stephen Sinatra, MD and Vervana, LLC. All rights reserved.