Sunday, 21 October 2007

A Fruit A Month - Peach

Peaches have been grown since prehistoric times. Native to China, peaches are considered a symbol of long life and immortality. They are found in paintings, the decoration of porcelain, and poetry. Peach seeds were carried all over the world. As they grow best in warm temperate and subtropical regions, they were grown in Persia before being transported to Europe, hence its ancient appellation, Persian apple. The Romans thought that they originated from Persia and gave the botanical name prunus persica.

A peach tree may grow up to 30 feet tall and can live for 40 years. Belonging to the rose family, it is a low spreading freely branching tree that has lanceolate leaves and sessile pink flowers. The fruit is a delicately fragrant edible drupe. On one side of the fruit is a distinctive vertical indentation. The thin, velvety, fuzzy skin of the peach can range from pink-blushed creamy-white to red-blushed yellow. Beneath is a pulpy pinkish-white to yellow-gold flesh that is juicy with acidic tang coupled with sweetness. In the centre of the fruit is a hard stone that is covered with a fleshy substance that is juicy, melting, and of fine flavour when matured and mellowed.

There are hundreds of varieties that vary greatly in colour and flavour. The nectarine, which looks very much similar to the peach, is actually a variety of peach. The texture of the skin is the one that differentiates them. Peach has fuzzy and dull skin, while nectarine is smooth and shiny. Generally, peach is classified into two major types; freestone and clingstone. The pit or stone of the freestone peach separates easily away from the flesh. This type is more commonly found in markets. The pit in the clingstone peach adheres firmly to the fruit. This type of peach has firmer flesh and is widely used for commercial purposes such as tinned peaches. There is also some semi-freestone peach which is in between the other two types.

Though peach is available almost year-round, it is best and cheapest in the summer while the peach season is at its peak from June until the end of September. Peach is harvested when it is firm, mature, and have just enough sweetness. As it ripens, it becomes sweet, juicy and delicious with a sweet fragrance. Choose for intensely fragrant fruit that gives slightly to palm pressure. Select for peach that is colourful. Peach should be thoroughly perused for soft spots as it bruises easily. Also avoid those with signs of greening. To ripen unripe peach, simply place it in a pierced brown bag at room temperature for a day or so until it becomes softer. Adding an apple to the bag will speed up the ripening process. Ripe peaches could be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to five to six days. Bring to room temperature before consuming.

After harvest, commercially grown peaches are mechanically brushed to de-fuzz the skin. This is because most people do not like it. It is also the reason why the skin is often peeled before eating. To do this, just blanch it in boiling water for a few seconds, then plunge into cold water until it is cool enough to handle. The skin will slip right off. The pit can be easily removed by slicing from top to bottom and giving a slight twist.

The peach is a good source of both vitamins A and C. It is fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. It can be used in various ways. Peaches are tinned in sugar syrup as slices or halves, poached, dried, cooked, baked, frozen, juiced, made into jam or eaten as it is. It could also be distilled in brandy and liqueurs. The Chinese preserve peaches. As an entry for A Fruit A Month event, I have used peach as a main ingredient to marinade chicken.

Peach Chicken

What do we need:

4 chicken thighs
2 skinned fresh peaches or 4 pieces tinned peach halves
1 inch knob ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp chilli powder (or more)
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp tomatoe paste
1 tbsp honey (omit if using tinned peaches)
1/2 tbsp light soya sauce
salt

How do we do it:

Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels. Make 2 or 3 slits lengthwise on them. Place the thighs in a zip-loc bag.


Peach based marinade

In a food processor, process all the marinade ingredients until fine. Pour marinade into the zip-loc bag, over the chicken. Shake well to coat the chicken. Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.

Line a baking tray with aluminium foil to ease washing process. Arrange the chicken thighs on it. Roast in preheated oven at 250°C for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over halfway through the cooking time and baste with some marinade. Turn the chicken back to its original position, baste again with some marinade if necessary and continue to bake for another 5 minutes or until evenly browned.

Serve immediately while it is still hot.


While roasting, the sweet aroma of peach was lingering throughout my kitchen. The chicken tastes very fruity.



Also check out a lovely Peach Butter Cake that also uses peach as main ingredient.

27 comments:

Mansi Desai said...

Hey PUshpa, thanks for this creative entry! the chicken looks lovely!

USHA said...

Hi Puspha,

Wonderful entry for the event...i never thought that we can use peach for spicy items...that too Non.veg.....after reading i felt different,....but after seeing the out come..hmm yummy....

Chandrika said...

Pushpa, I am sure the chicken was scrumptious and whoever got a juicy bite of it was lucky!...Lovely entry! :-)

Nabeela said...

That is a unique marinade!

A kitchen scientist & a white rat hubby!!! said...

that is one true invention, Pushpa..think of fruits, and first thought goes to juice, jams and spreads..but with chicken,,,,....wow!

Vcuisine said...

It's quite new pushpa. Very nice. Viji

Cinnamon said...

Peach and chicken,.... thats a unique combination.. and the pic looks very tempting!

Happy cook said...

Wow this is really creative.
I bet the chicken was super delicious. I can just imagine eating one woth mt hand and licking my finger yummy :-)

Asha said...

Peach chicken!! YUM!!:)

Apple said...

Very nice n creative idea to use peaches this way..that marinade looks so colorful Pushpa..lovely entry

Puspha said...

Mansi- Thanx to u for hosting the event.

Usha- Well, I was thinking y can´t we use peach for a spicy dish & came up with a fews ideas & finally, selected this easy one.

Chandrika & Happy cook- U bet it was!!

Nabeela, kitchen scientist, Viji, cinnamon, Asha Akka & Apple - Thank u very much.

RP said...

That is an unusual way of preparing chicken. Very innovative!

sunita said...

I'm drooling over your chicken...looks absolutely gorgeous.

remya said...

WOW!!! thats a unique marinade...ur innovative pushpa...sounds amazing!!!

RAKS KITCHEN said...

Your marinade looks catchy...How come you got that colour...
I hav never tasted or seen peach before..:( I hav seen in pictures by googling images...thats all..
Now I am searching for one to give it a try ...
Yours seems to be a creative one...Great entry..:)

PASSIONATE BAKER....and beyond. said...

Looks absolutely sensational and delicious. How different it is! The pictures are beautiful too. well done Pushpa.

New Kid on the Blog said...

Wow... what an eye opening to me... thks for dropping by my blog. Hope to see you more often.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That recipe is very interesting, wow! Surely extremely tasty and delicate flavor-wise...

Cheers,

Rosa

Lissie said...

hi pushpa, beautiful pictures! unique recipe. you are really creative!

rokh said...

never thought of peach and chicken before!

Kribha said...

That's a unique combo. Never knew that chicken and peaches go well with eachother. Looks great.

Sirisha Kilambi said...

Pushpa...A unique recipe....the chicken looks delicious :-)

Mishmash ! said...

Peach marinade sounds quite good...want to try this once.

Rina said...

Such a unique cool recipe.Thx

Cynthia said...

This is a wonderfully, creative idea for a marinade and a dish.

Puspha, thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and leaving your kind comments. They are very much appreciated. I hope to see you around again.

anju said...

Happy Birthday to Your sister. This is first time i am visting ur blog and all your recepies are excellent and thanks for sharing them.

Puspha said...

Thank u so much to all of ur comments.

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