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Green peaches look very much like fresh almonds and are about the size of a large olive. The young fruits are 5 to 7 centimeters long and 3 centimeters around and have a small, stiff stem. They have a light green skin with the characteristic, fuzzy exterior of a peach, giving the fruit a silver-grey look. Green peaches are firm and crisp. The pit within is still undeveloped and soft. The young fruit has a tart-sour taste, without bitterness. The entire fruit, including the pit, is generally considered more palatable once pickled or cooked.
Green peaches are available in the spring and early summer months.
Green peaches are the immature, not-yet-ripe fruit of the peach tree. Botanically, peaches are classified as Prunus persica. Peaches are related to plums, almonds and cherries. Very young peaches, also called Baby peaches or Immature peaches, of all varieties are harvested early in the season during a thinning out process for ensuring optimal fruit growth for market. Though unripe, or hard, peaches are sometimes called “green” the descriptor is misleading and the fruit is typically just under ripe. The immature, Green peaches have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and have only recently been used for culinary purposes. Pickled Green peaches are popping up in trendy restaurants in the United Kingdom and the United States. In Japan, sweet, preserved Green peaches are called Waka Momo.
While fresh peaches contain more sugar and overall nutrient content, the immature Green peaches do contain the same basic vitamins and minerals. Peaches are a source of niacin, vitamin E and copper and contain a moderate amount of potassium. They are a good source of vitamins A and C as well as dietary fiber. The young fruits contain a substance called ceramide, it is a waxy lipid that may help maintain moisture in one’s skin.
Green peaches must be cooked or pickled to be edible. The immature peaches are quite hard, and require pricking with a toothpick or knife before pickling or cooking, in order to penetrate the flesh. A basic pickling recipe can be used, such as bread and butter or a more traditional, vinegar-based brine. Use a few pickled peaches as a garnish for charcuterie platters or in place of an olive in a martini. Simmer Baby peaches in sugar and water to create a syrup. The sweetened fruits can be served alongside dessert or after-dinner drinks. The fruit and syrup can be used to make sweet jellies or pound cake. In Japan, they are found in the center of pastries and served with mochi. Preserved Green peaches will keep for up to several months, sealed in an airtight container, in the refrigerator. Fresh Green peaches will keep for up to a week refrigerated.
Green peaches are known in Traditional Chinese medicine as Bi Tao Gan, Yin Tao Gan, or Fructus Persicae Immaturus. They have been used since ancient times for alleviating night sweats, pain and to help stop bleeding. The Green peaches are dried to preserve their medicinal qualities. The dried fruit are considered to have sour, bitter, and neutral properties that impact both the lung and liver meridians (the path through which your ‘qi’, or energy, moves through the body).
Peaches are native to China and Southeast Asia, and date back more than 4000 years. From there, peaches spread to India and Western Asia then to Italy. China still grows around half of the worlds’s peaches and Italy is a distant second. Green peaches are often found on the ground, during what peach and other stone fruit growers refer to as “June drop”. More often, the small, green, fuzzy fruits are picked during the thinning out process. Growers will sometimes remove up to 80% of the young fruit in the spring to prevent branch breakage and increase the size and flavor of the surviving fruits. In an effort to make use of the young fruits, growers will sort them according to size and pickle them for export. In Japan, white peach growers in Fukishima Prefecture have begun selling bags of preserved Green peaches that were simmered in a sugar syrup. These are sold in Japan and shipped to stores in the United Kingdom and Europe. In Japan, they are served in the New Year’s bento box alongside other traditional foods. Italian peach growers make the immature fruits available to local pickle companies, one of which packs the peaches in truffle oil after pickling. Small orchards in the United States have begun making Green peaches available through farmer’s markets and small, specialty stores.
Recipes that include Green Peaches. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Give Recipe||Pickled Unripe Peaches|
|No Recipes||Green Peach Salad with Feta|