I’m the kind of person who comes up with an idea and executes it. Consequently, I have very few items on my bucket list. I’ve tried to work at adding things but they are either fairly expensive (a trip to India) or improbable (living in California).
I recently realized that every summer for as long I can remember, I regret that I did not eat more peaches, corn and tomatoes in the last days of summer. I decided I did not want to go to my final resting place not having eaten enough peaches.
Yes, you read that right. This year I added to my bucket list: Eat a peach every day for 30 days before summer ends.
Peaches are meant to be consumed out of hand, juice dribbling into a napkin. As far as I’m concerned, almost anything one can do to a peach ruins it.
Canned peaches taste to me like slippery tennis balls. Frozen peaches aren’t fragrant. Peach iced tea is tasty but it doesn’t approximate the taste of a fresh peach. The closest I’ve come to real peach taste in a peach product is a nectar drink that I first came across in Greece, called Premium Fresh peach nectar in a cardboard container from Philicon. At 130 calories for eight ounces, it contains water, peach puree, and sugar and is actually a product of Bulgaria.
In my quest, I found it was really worth it to buy the $2.50 (ouch) a pound giant peaches. They are like the steak of the fruit world. So full of juice and fiber, after you eat one, you’re full.
To eat a peach every day, you have to buy a peach every day, or every other day, so they are really ripe. Peaches are best stored at 32 degrees, as they continue to ripen after being picked from the tree. I prefer them room temperature.
|An illustration from the 1800s.|
Getting peaches home every day can turn into a project. I bought some at my local Korean grocery store. I bought some from the community supported agriculture stand at the Hester Street Fair, trucked in from farms on the East End of Long Island. I bought some from a stand in Chinatown. The peach is native to China, and the country is still the world’s largest producer of the fruit.
I told my daughter about my quest and since she lives in the same building, across the hall from me, I sometimes came home to find a peach sitting atop the doorknob of the front door of my apartment.
Peaches are divided into clingstones and freestones, depending on whether or not the flesh sticks to the stone. White flesh are very sweet with little acidity. Yellow-fleshed peaches are sweet but can have an acidic tang. Europeans use the white peaches to make the Italian Proseco-based drink called Bellini.
I mostly ate peaches plain. I wash them with Environne Fruit & Vegetable Wash, which removes pesticides, waxes and chemicals used in crop production. My friend Jill uses it in her kitchen. She runs a weblog tracking innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future. If it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me.
During my 30 days, I once made a salad of peach chunks, red lettuce and ginger sesame salad dressing. Chicken, and chow mien noodles, could also be added. I came across a recipe for a peach salsa, combining the fruit with kiwi, strawberries, lime juice, green onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper. Maybe. I mostly ate the peaches out of hand. I’m not a fan of any recipe that cooks a peach, since I think heating a peach ruins what makes it great; the fragrance and the subtle flavor. So no cobbler, no peach pie.
I’m about three-quarters of the way through my quest. Have I gotten tired of peaches? Surprisingly, I have not. But after 23 days, I’m almost good till next summer.