Ah, the peach -- a classic sign of summer, a staple in warm-weather recipes for desserts and salads, an anticipated addition to farmers' markets and stands across the country from June through August. You may love this sweet, juicy fruit, but how much do you know much about its history or nutritional value -- or even about cooking with it? Read on to learn 10 healthy facts about peaches -- and then try our delicious recipe for Peachy Chicken Salad.
1. Peach origins: The fuzzy peach is actually a member of the rose family and originated in China.
2. Peaches on the Silk Road: The peach’s scientific name, Prunus persica, is a direct reference to the fruit’s travels to Persia along the Silk Road.
3. Peach varieties: You can buy two main varieties of peaches: clingstone (the flesh sticks to the stone) and freestone (the stone is easily separated from the flesh).
4. Peach colors: The peach can have yellow or white flesh, which is sweeter and less acidic than its more traditional golden counterpart.
5. Top peach growers: China is the largest producer of peaches, followed by Italy.
6. Peach nutrition: A large peach has fewer than 70 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C.
7. Biggest peach cobbler: "The world’s largest peach cobbler" is made every year in Georgia, which is known as the Peach State. That cobbler measures 11 feet by 5 feet.
8. "The Peach State": That would be the nickname for Georgia.
9. Peach season: Peaches are best from June to the end of August.
10. Peach ripeness: The flesh of a peach should have a slight give, but use your whole hand vs. fingertips to check since the fruit bruises so easily. Also, check for an even coloring of golden or creamy yellow.
Peachy Chicken Salad
Makes 4 servings
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 large peaches, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage (Napa, red, green, or substitute broccoli slaw)
4 large Bibb lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Heat grill pan or grill to medium-high heat.
2. Spray the pan or grill with cooking spray, and place the chicken on it. Grill 5 to 6 minutes on each side until done.
3. Shred or chop the chicken and add it to the mixing bowl along with peaches, carrots, and cabbage.
4. Place the dressing ingredients in a separate mixing bowl; whisk to combine.
5. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and toss gently.
6. Arrange one leaf of Bibb lettuce on each plate. Divide the peachy chicken salad among the four plates.
7. Garnish with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.