This time of year, Beijing is famous for peaches, which are native to China. In regions like Pingu, there are orchards filled in which families can pick baskets of this delicious fruit. Peaches are rich in Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and fiber. They also contain phytochemicals like beta carotene and lutein – naturally-occurring compounds found in plants that have powerful healing abilities. They can protect us against cancer, the effects of aging, and heart disease. Lycopene is an antioxidant that can help counteract the effects of pollution in our bodies. Peaches can also help digestion as well as relieve constipation and gastritis.
If you pick your own peaches, choose fruits with a fragrant smell that are slightly soft or firm, but not hard. The skin should be smooth and of various shades of pink, red, yellow or cream. Avoid green peaches. Wash them with cool water and a gentle cleanser to remove some of the pesticide residues. Gently rub the peaches, but don’t scrub them.
The possibilities are endless. They can be eaten fresh, made into preserves, or added to peach cobbler or peach dumplings. An easy and refreshing option is to make peach iced tea, a quintessential summer treat. Here is a simple yet delicious recipe.
- First, make a puree using four medium-sized peaches. Start by removing the pits and cutting them into wedges, skin on. Put them in a blender at high speed until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Pass the puree through a fine-meshed colander or sieve, then set it aside.
- Then, make a fresh batch of tea using black or green tea. (If you’re making some for the kids, remember that green has less caffeine). Use four teabags for four cups of boiling water and allow the tea to steep for ten minutes. You can also use one 1tsp of loose leaf tea per cup of water. Remove the tea bags or tea leaves.
- While the tea is still warm, add a sweetener if desired. I prefer to use a natural unrefined sugar like demerera or honey. If your peaches are very sweet, you’ll want to add less sugar. Taste your tea first, then slowly add the sweetener to taste.
- Combine the tea and the peach puree in a large pitcher, and stir well. To avoid cloudy tea, allow it to cool before adding ice cubes.
- Garnish with a couple of peach slices and a sprig of mint for an elegant and thirst-quenching drink. The final step is to enjoy.
Photo: Elle D. (Flickr)