Thursday, August 2, 2012

August Is "National Peach Month" & A "Fruity, Nutty, Chicken Salad" Recipe

Everywhere I look this summer there are delicious, sweet, juicy peaches. There is a reason why I am seeing more peaches all over and that is because August is “National Peach Month”. This holiday is honoring and enjoying the flavor of the peach. The peach is a member of the Rose family. It was first cultivated in China. The peach tree is considered to be the tree of life and peaches are symbols of immortality and unity. Peach blossoms are carried by Chinese brides and the image is placed on pottery as a gift which has great value. 

Travelers along caravan routes carried the peach seed to Persia before it was cultivated in Europe. In the 1600s Spanish explorers brought them to the New World and by the 1700s missionaries had established peaches in California. Columbus brought peach trees to America on his second and third voyages. The United States is the world’s largest producer of peaches. The peach is the state fruit of Georgia and South Carolina. The peach blossom is also the State Flower of Delaware. Johnston, South Carolina is known as “The Peach Capital” of the World. 

Map of Italy's Peach Region
Other major producers are Italy, France, Greece and Spain. Peaches (or pesca in Italian) have grown in Italy since the Middle Ages. The yield time is from July to September. There are four main growing regions in Italy and they are; Emilia Romagna, Campania, Piedmont, and Veneto. Many products are made from peaches such as; peach marmalade, peach essence, peach juice concentrate, and peach puree to name a few. My mother told me that my grandfather would slice a peach into a glass of wine. In order to eat the peach slices, they would take a knife and use the tip to spear them in the glass. This is the classic Italian way. The peach adds a pleasant accent to the wine, and the wine can be either red or white depending on the region you are in. We are all peach lovers in my family. My dad especially loves them on top of cereal and I love peach pie.

Peach varieties can be either clingstone, where the flesh of the fruit clings to the stone, or freestone, where the stone twists away from the fruit. The peach pit contains hydrocyanic acid, which is a poisonous substance. Peaches are a good source of vitamins A, B and C. Medium peaches contain only 37 calories. You can ripen peaches by placing them in a brown paper bag for two to three days. Nectarines are a variety of peach with a smooth skin, and are not a cross between a peach and a plum. The juice from peaches makes a wonderful moisturizer, and can be found in many brands of cosmetics. Summer and peaches make a perfect pair. Peaches are a favorite fresh snacking fruit and make wonderful pies and jams. Peach ice cream and peach sherbet are a cool and refreshing summer favorite. Ripe peaches also freeze well for later use.

My recipe this week is another recipe that I created for my sewing group. It is called, “Fruity, Nutty, Chicken Salad”. This recipe is a perfect summer lunch or for a light dinner. It enhances many different textures that explode your taste buds. The juicy peaches added to the chicken, with the nuts which adds flavor and raspberry vinaigrette. Simplicity is at its best. Don’t forget to get your peaches, fruits and vegetables at your Farmers Markets. It is important to support our local farmers.

Fruity, Nutty, Chicken Salad” 

2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
2-3 fresh large peaches, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup fresh carrots cut into julienne strips
1/4 cup raisins or currants
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup raspberry walnut salad dressing of your choice
(I use Ken’s or Newman’s Own)
1 package spring mix salad greens (5 oz)

In small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Divide salad greens and top with your chicken salad. Yield: 4 or more servings depending on the size of your ingredients.

Till Next Time………………………..

Copyright © 2012 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment