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How to Cook Peaches

By Susan Lundman

With their sweet taste and small size, ripe peaches dripping with juice epitomize summer. Cooking peaches is one way to concentrate peach flavors, whether you bake, broil, grill, poach or saute. Follow the lead of chef Tony Liu from August in New York City, and add acidity such as lemon juice, and fat such as yogurt or crème fraiche when cooking peaches. Peaches contain 15 percent of your daily recommend amount of vitamin C and the antioxidant carotenoid, which may help prevent cancer in smokers, according to researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Raw

Chop peaches into small pieces and combine with chopped cucumber, lime juice, lime zest, cilantro and chili powder for salsa. Registered dietician Karen Collins recommends serving ½-cup portions in chicken, seafood or bean dishes or on cooked grains.

Place 1 cup of roughly chopped peaches into a blender with ½ cup of frozen milk cubes and 1 tsp. sugar for a peach freeze. Add a sprinkling of fresh mint on top.

Blend one chopped peach with 1 cup of milk or orange juice for a refreshing smoothie. Add yogurt, wheat germ or ice cream for thickening if desired.

Add sliced peaches to peanut butter sandwiches. Try the peaches with other nut butters, too.

Baked

Slice the peaches and use as apples or berries in cobblers, crisps and pies. Or use a fruit medley of peaches, raspberries and blueberries.

Use sliced peaches instead of pineapple in peach upside down cake. Add almonds, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar to your recipe, as these ingredients have a special affinity with peaches.

Bake peach halves in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle the warm peaches with 1 tsp. of lemon juice and top with yogurt and honey.

Puree peaches in a blender and pour the puree onto cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Bake the puree in a 200-degree oven overnight for homemade fruit leather.

Sauteed and Grilled

Heat 1 tbsp. of butter in a skillet. Place peach halves cut side down and let them cook until the underside becomes brown and the sugars in the peaches caramelize. Serve them warm with lime juice, yogurt and honey.

Place peaches cut in half directly on an oiled grill and cook until the underside is brown and caramelized. Serve them alongside meat or fish dishes. Peaches pair especially well with chicken and pork.

Add a sautéed or grilled peach half to any green salad. Other ingredients to add to the salad that go especially well with peaches include toasted almonds or walnuts, yellow onions, watercress, goat cheese and mint.

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