Nowhere can I find whether the Allman Brothers inspired it or not, but there is actually such a thing as National Eat a Peach Day. It’s observed annually on Aug. 22, a day dedicated to the eating of peaches. And there are so many ways to do it — in pies, cobblers, fruit salad, jam, ice cream, tarts, milkshakes or just on their own.
Who else remembers perching in a mimosa tree in the backyard as a kid and biting into a cold peach on a warm day, juice dribbling down your chin? No more trees for me, but today we do keep peaches in a pottery bowl on the coffee table, along with nectarines, bananas and apples. We’re a little neater now while eating them.
Peaches are native to Northwest China, and China still produces over half the world’s supply — but I wouldn’t put them up against the fine fresh peaches area growers have lately had at our farmers markets.
We can apparently thank the Spanish for bringing peaches to the Americas in the 16th century. It’s said Founding Father Thomas Jefferson had some growing at Monticello, but widespread commercial production didn’t begin here until the 19th century. As we know, our regional neighbor, Georgia, is known as the “Peach State,” although it produces only three to five percent of the national peach crop, according to smithsonian.com. But the state nickname refers to the high quality of peaches coming out of that sunny state, something that seems borne out by all the cars stopping at those roadside Chilton County (Georgia) peach stands that have been dotting Columbus’ Highway 45 North.
On the nutritional side of things, peaches contain vitamins A, B, C, E and K, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and more. One medium peach typically delivers 8 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, so says anydayguide.com.
Consider getting on board National Eat a Peach Day with one of today’s recipes, like a rustic peach crostata topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, perfect for summer’s end. Asian chicken with peaches layers so many flavors, and this one can be ready in an hour or less. Or, try making the blueberry peach tart, a flaky, buttery puff pastry topped with ripe peaches and plump blueberries. In a hurry? Slice up some peaches on your morning cereal; save a few slices to put in a sandwich bag with some sugar. By lunch you’ll have a peachy snack in a natural syrup.
Grammy-winning country and bluegrass performer Kathy Mattea once said, “Chocolate is OK, but I prefer a really intense fruit taste. You know when a peach is absolutely perfect … it’s sublime.”
She knows a good thing.
So remember, Aug. 22, eat a peach. And nobody says you can’t listen to a classic Southern rock album from the Allman Brothers while you do it.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Makes 8 servings
Buttery pie crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4-ounce 1 stick unsalted butter, very cold
1 tablespoon shortening very cold
1/4 cup ice water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon corn starch
1 egg lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar coarse sugar
(Source: whatshouldimakefor.com, Cathy Roma)
ASIAN CHICKEN WITH PEACHES
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons butter
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 1/4 pound)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pitted sliced peaches, thawed if frozen
2 green onions, whites and greens separated, sliced on the bias
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
Cooked white rice
BLUEBERRY PEACH TART
1 package of puff pastry thawed
1 tablespoons coarse sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 large peaches, sliced
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoon apricot preserves
1 tablespoon water
Vanilla ice cream for serving, optional
(Source: foodbabbles.com, adapted from Delishhh)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.