Table of Contents Hide
- Peaches Nutritional Profile
- How Many Nutrients in Peaches
- How To Serve Nutritious Peaches
- How To Buying This Food
- How To Storing This Food
- How To Preparing This Food
- What Happens When You Cook Peaches
- How Other Kinds of Processing effect Peaches
- Adverse Effects Associated with Peaches
Peaches Nutritional Profile
• Energy value (calories per serving): Low
• Protein: Moderate
• Saturated fat: Low
• Fat: Low
• Cholesterol: None
• Carbohydrates: High
• Fiber: Moderate
• Sodium: Low (fresh or dried fruit) High (dried fruit treated with sodium sulfur compounds)
• Major vitamin contribution: Vitamin A
• Major mineral contribution: Potassium
How Many Nutrients in Peaches
• Peaches and nectarines have moderate amounts of dietary fiber, insoluble cellulose in the skin and soluble pectins in the fruit. They have moderate to high amounts of vitamin A derived from deep yellow carotenes, including beta-carotene in the flesh, and are a good source of vitamin C.
• One fresh peach (2.75-inch diameter) has 2.2 g dietary fiber, 489 IU vitamin A (21 percent of the RDA for a woman, 16 percent of the RDA for a man), and 9.9 mg vitamin C (13 percent of the RDA for a woman, 11 percent of the RDA for a man).
• One fresh nectarine (2.5-inch diameter) has 2.4 g dietary fiber, 471 IU vitamin A (20 percent of the RDA for a woman, 16 percent of the RDA for a man), and 7.7 mg vitamin C (10 percent of the RDA for a woman, 9 percent of the RDA for a man).
• Like apple seeds and apricot pits, the leaves and bark of the peach tree as well as the “nut” inside the peach pit contain amygdalin, a naturally occurring cyanide/sugar compound that breaks down into hydrogen cyanide in your stomach. Accidentally swallowing one peach pit is not a serious hazard for an adult, but cases of human poisoning after eating peach pits have been reported (see apples).ONIONS
How To Serve Nutritious Peaches
• Fresh and ripe.
How To Buying This Food
Peaches and nectarines with rich cream or yellow skin. The red “blush” characteristic of some varieties of peaches is not a reliable guide to ripeness. A better guide is the way the fruit feels and smells. Ripe peaches and nectarines have a warm, intense aroma and feel firm, with a slight softness along the line running up the length of the fruit.
Green or hard unripe peaches and nectarines. As peaches and nectarines ripen enzymes convert their insoluble pectic substances to soluble pectins and decrease their concentration of bitter phenols. The longer the peach is left on the tree, the lower the concentration of phenols will be, which is why late-season peaches and nectarines are the sweetest.
• Once you pick the peach or nectarine, the enzyme action stops completely. The fruit may shrivel, but it cannot continue to ripen.
How To Storing This Food
• Store firm-ripe peaches and nectarines at room temperature until they soften. Once they have softened, put them in the refrigerator. The cold will stop the enzymatic action that dissolves pectins in the fruit and softens it.
• The pectin in freestone peaches is more soluble than the pectin in cling peaches, so ripe freestones are softer than ripe cling peaches (which stay firm even when cooked).
NOTE: The names “freestone” and “cling” indicate the ease with which the fruit separates from the pit.
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How To Preparing This Food
• To peel peaches, immerse them in hot water for a few seconds, then lift them out and plunge them into cold water. The hot water destroys a layer of cells under the skin, allowing the skin to slip off easily.
• Don’t peel or slice peaches and nectarines until you are ready to use them. When you cut into them, you tear their cell walls, releasing polyphenoloxidase, an enzyme that promotes the oxidation of phenols, forming brownish compounds that darken the fruit.
• You can slow the reaction (but not stop it completely) by chilling the fruit or by dipping it in an acid solution (lemon juice and water or vinegar and water) or by mixing the sliced peaches and nectarines into a fruit salad with citrus fruits.
What Happens When You Cook Peaches
• When you cook peaches, pectins in the cell walls dissolve and the fruit softens. As noted above, cling peaches will stay firmer than freestones. Cooking peaches and nectarines also destroy polyphenoloxidase and keep the fruit from darkening.
How Other Kinds of Processing effect Peaches
Drying removes water and concentrates the peach flesh. Ounce for ounce, dried peaches have up to three times as much vitamin A as fresh peaches.
• One fresh peach weighing 87 g (about three ounces) has 470 IU vitamin A. A similar serving of uncooked dried peaches has approximately 1,880 IU. Like other dried fruits, dried peaches may be treated with sulfites (sodium sulfite) that inhibit polyphenoloxidase and keep the peaches from darkening. People who are sensitive to sulfites may suffer serious allergic reactions, including potentially lethal anaphylactic shock if they eat dried peaches treated with these compounds.
Adverse Effects Associated with Peaches
According to the Merck Manual, peaches are one of the 12 foods most likely to trigger classic food allergy symptoms: hives, swelling of the lips and eyes, and upset stomach.
• The others are berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), chocolate, corn, eggs, fish, legumes (green peas, lima beans, peanuts, soybeans), milk, nuts, pork, shellfish, and wheat (see wheat cereals).
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