Peaches are a sweet and juicy fruit that can be enjoyed starting on Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet. Not only are they delicious, but peaches are also rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, and provide a fair amount of fiber. July and August are the peak months for peaches, though the California peach season often begins in April and lasts until October. Here are a few tips on how to find the perfect peach, plus delicious ways to enjoy them.
Finding the Perfect Peach
Look for plump peaches with a soft yellow or cream background color, as well as unwrinkled skins. (The amount of red in the skin of a peach is a poor indicator of sweetness.) Choose fruit with a mild fragrance and with flesh that yields to gentle pressure. Avoid rock-hard peaches and those with bruises or dark spots, which may indicate fruit on the verge of spoiling. Store firm peaches at room temperature until they become soft and juicy. Once they're soft, either eat within a day or store in the refrigerator for no more than 3 to 5 days.
Refreshing Ways to Enjoy Peaches
One medium peach is a serving size on the South Beach Diet. Peaches can be eaten with the skin on, at room temperature, or chilled. Be sure to wash the fruit before eating. To cut a peach, insert your knife along the seam of the fruit and slice down to the pit. Continue cutting all the way around the circumference of the fruit. Remove your knife and twist the two halves of the peach in opposite directions. In addition to eating peaches out of hand, they can also be halved and grilled and paired with grilled chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp, or grilled and served as dessert with some Greek yogurt. You can also poach peaches in wine for an extra-special Phase 2 or Phase 3 dessert. Here are 3 other ways to enjoy peaches:
Pickled Peaches. This delicious unexpected sweet-and-sour dish is a great way to enjoy summer peaches. Use one and a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar, two and a half cups of granular sugar substitute, peach slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice. Bring the vinegar and granular sugar substitute to a boil. Add the peaches and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Place the peaches in a jar and serve cold.
Sweet and Spicy Salsa. Peaches add a hint of sweetness to a spicy homemade salsa. Add diced peaches to a mixture of chopped plum tomatoes, sliced scallions, minced fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Peach-Raspberry Shakes. These fruity and filling shakes are great as a snack or dessert late on Phase 2 or on Phase 3. In a blender, combine sliced peaches, one cup of fresh or frozen raspberries, one cup of low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt, one cup of 1% milk, ice cubes, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract; purée until smooth and add granular sugar substitute to taste.