I admit it, I have completely missed the fruit of the month post for June! Is it too late to correct this? I hope not, and for this reason in today’s article we have two fruits! They both started to come in season in June, and now that we’re in July you can see more and more of them! Hello to these bright, summerly, juicy fruits – Peach and Apricot!
Peaches are native to China and South Asia, and are a stone fruit, because their flesh surrounds a shell in the core of the fruit. In China, peaches are a symbol of immortality and friendship. They grow on a tree, that thrives in temperate regions across the world. Unlike nectarines, peaches have a fuzzy, velvety skin and juicy pulp. Apricots are relatives to peaches, and are smaller, with a bright orange colour. They are not as juicy but definitely just as delicious. The ancient Greeks called apricots “golden eggs of the sun” and I find this description pretty fitting! 🙂
Both fruits have a bright, orange colour, which indicates their richness in beta carotene (the precursor of vitamin A) and a powerful antioxidant! They have anti-aging properties, can help improve eye health and their fiber content can help with digestion and detoxification. Truly these are two beauty fruits, you should consume more of in summer! Besides the beta carotene, peaches are a good source of vitamin C, E and K and some B vitamins. They also contain a lot of minerals, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Both fruits are low in calories and high in fiber, and are great to improve metabolism and support weight loss. Antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-crytoxanthin help in scavenging the oxygen-derived free radicals and protect the body against the harmful effects of various diseases. Their vitamins and water content make them your ally to get glowing and supple skin!
How to select and store:
Try to buy organic peaches and apricots as conventional ones can contain a high number of pesticides! The peach is a delicate fruit that bruises easily so don’t squeeze it hard when selecting or checking for firmness. They should feel a little soft, but not too mushy. If they are hard, they are not ripe. Any green hue on their skin indicates unripeness too. Choose apricots with a bright yellow colour. They too should be slightly soft. To get the most out of their nutrients and anti-oxidant properties select fully ripened (tree-ripened) fruits!
If you want to further ripen them you can store them at your kitchen counter, at room temperature. Store ripe fruits in your fridge for up to 5 days.
If you store your peaches and apricots in the fridge let them sit outside for a bit before you eat them to enjoy the most of their rich flavour. Wash them under fresh water before you eat them, and eat the whole fruit, as the skin contains many of the nutrients. Sliced peaches turn brown very quickly because of the exposure to air converts an iron form from ferrous oxide to ferric oxide. Adding a few lemon drops can help delay this process. Enjoy those delicious fruits on their own as they are, or add some slices to a green salad for a burst of colour. They make great jams, and are prominent in many dessert recipes. Dried apricots are used in many Middle Eastern recipes and besides the nutrients they offer, they give an exotic and sweet flavour to a savoury meal. I like adding them to couscous. You can also freeze peaches and apricots and use them later in baking or in smoothies.