Nothing screams summer like peaches. Warmed by the sun, glowing amber and rose, a perfectly ripe peach needs nothing more than a hungry admirer with a few relaxing minutes to savor the flavor – and a napkin to sop up drips.
However, if you want to elevate nature's bounty to decadent heights (or if your peaches aren't quite ripe), then use fire. Glowing heat will draw out and caramelize the juices, painting a tangy sweet gloss on the softened golden flesh; flames create a slight char, a papery crackle that dissolves on the tongue and tastes like toffee.
In the midst of peach season, who needs desserts bloated with fats or sweetened with added sugars and high-fructose corn syrup?
One large peach has about 70 calories, no fat. It's high in vitamin A (important for healthy vision) and vitamin C, an antioxidant key to building and repairing tissues. Peaches also provide antioxidant vitamin E and vitamin K (vital for blood clotting), thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. The potassium in peaches (350 mg), helps maintain blood pressure and prevent kidney stones and bone loss.
Major antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, in the fuzzy fruits help scavenge free radicals linked to aging, chronic disease, inner inflammation and cancer.
Finally, a large peach contains three grams of fiber, essential for smooth digestion and likely beneficial in regulating cholesterol and reducing risk of heart disease.
Here's a book recommendation--sumptuous summer reading featuring peaches: Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm by David M. Masumoto. And, of course, a foolproof recipe...