30 Peaches in 30 Days

I’m the kind of person who comes up with an idea and executes it. Consequently, I have very few items on my bucket list. I’ve tried to work at adding things but they are either fairly expensive (a trip to India) or improbable (living in California).

I recently realized that every summer for as long I can remember, I regret that I did not eat more peaches, corn and tomatoes in the last days of summer. I decided I did not want to go to my final resting place not having eaten enough peaches.

Yes, you read that right. This year I added to my bucket list: Eat a peach every day for 30 days before summer ends.

Peaches are meant to be consumed out of hand, juice dribbling into a napkin. As far as I’m concerned, almost anything one can do to a peach ruins it.

Canned peaches taste to me like slippery tennis balls. Frozen peaches aren’t fragrant. Peach iced tea is tasty but it doesn’t approximate the taste of a fresh peach. The closest I’ve come to real peach taste in a peach product is a nectar drink that I first came across in Greece, called Premium Fresh peach nectar in a cardboard container from Philicon. At 130 calories for eight ounces, it contains water, peach puree, and sugar and is actually a product of Bulgaria.

In my quest, I found it was really worth it to buy the $2.50 (ouch) a pound giant peaches. They are like the steak of the fruit world. So full of juice and fiber, after you eat one, you’re full.

To eat a peach every day, you have to buy a peach every day, or every other day, so they are really ripe. Peaches are best stored at 32 degrees, as they continue to ripen after being picked from the tree. I prefer them room temperature.

An illustration from the 1800s.

Getting peaches home every day can turn into a project. I bought some at my local Korean grocery store. I bought some from the community supported agriculture stand at the Hester Street Fair, trucked in from farms on the East End of Long Island. I bought some from a stand in Chinatown. The peach is native to China, and the country is still the world’s largest producer of the fruit.

I told my daughter about my quest and since she lives in the same building, across the hall from me, I sometimes came home to find a peach sitting atop the doorknob of the front door of my apartment.

A surprise!
Peaches are divided into clingstones and freestones, depending on whether or not the flesh sticks to the stone. White flesh are very sweet with little acidity. Yellow-fleshed peaches are sweet but can have an acidic tang. Europeans use the white peaches to make the Italian Proseco-based drink called Bellini.

I mostly ate peaches plain. I wash them with Environne Fruit & Vegetable Wash, which removes pesticides, waxes and chemicals used in crop production. My friend Jill uses it in her kitchen. She runs a weblog tracking innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future. If it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me.

During my 30 days, I once made a salad of peach chunks, red lettuce and ginger sesame salad dressing. Chicken, and chow mien noodles, could also be added. I came across a recipe for a peach salsa, combining the fruit with kiwi, strawberries, lime juice, green onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper. Maybe. I mostly ate the peaches out of hand. I’m not a fan of any recipe that cooks a peach, since I think heating a peach ruins what makes it great; the fragrance and the subtle flavor. So no cobbler, no peach pie.

I’m about three-quarters of the way through my quest. Have I gotten tired of peaches? Surprisingly, I have not. But after 23 days, I’m almost good till next summer.