Bible scholars have it all wrong.
In the garden of Eden, it wasn’t an apple with which Eve tempted Adam.
No, it was not a bright red apple that grew from the Tree of Knowledge.
No, sirs. No. I say.
The forbidden fruit that caused the ejection of our ancestors from paradise was a juicy, summer ripe peach.
For what is more sinful than biting into a plump, golden peach and licking your fingers as the juices drip down your arm. Sensual. Seductive. It surely was the peach that drove Eve to sin.
Exhibit A: in China, the peach is the fruit of the gods and is a symbol of longevity (http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/flowers_symbolism.htm)
When I opened the weekly circular for my local grocery store and saw that peaches were on sale this week, I felt that little thrill you get when you do something you know you shouldn’t.
Why do peaches conjure these feelings?
Perhaps it has to do with their tantalizing scent and sweetness.
Or maybe it’s just the association of peaches with steamy summer nights, languid beach days and standing in the fridge with a spoon eating peaches out of the bowl.
Going back to the weekly circular. Yes, I check out what’s on sale that week.
Firstly, because well, who doesn’t like saving money and who, with a city kitchen especially, doesn’t need to save money?
Secondly, things are usually on sale when they are in season. Fruits and vegetables are cheaper when the cost of transportation etc is cheaper, meaning when they are able to be obtained locally.
I try to support local growers when I can.
And I am more than happy to take those peaches off your hands Mr. Local Farmer Man.
Growing up, I spent my summers at the beach. My parents have a beach house in the small town of Fenwick Island, Delaware (12 streets. There are 12 streets in the town).
My dad’s family has always rented a cottage a few blocks over, and one or other of his siblings is there most of the summer with some or all or an assortment of cousins.
But the best week was always when my aunt Ann Marie was there. Because Ann Marie cut up peaches.
It’s such a simple thing really, ripe peaches cut up in a bowl.
Ann Marie would always buy pounds and pounds and bags of ripe, fresh peaches and she and my grandma would sit in the tiny kitchen of the cottage cutting up the endless piles of peaches. The smell would overwhelm the beach side cottage. It would overpower the salt air wafting off the ocean.
The peaches would be tossed in a bowl with some sugar and put into the fridge overnight. Overnight, the sugar worked its magic, drawing out the juices and making a natural syrup surrounding the peaches.
We’d clamor around the big bowl, spoons diving in, no time to scoop out into our own servings.
We were all family.
The first time I brought my boyfriend to the shore to meet the family, we walked into the cottage and my aunt said “I cut peaches!”
I was thrilled. He didn’t know what she meant.
He had never had cut peaches.
Well he had eaten peaches before, but not like this.
He couldn’t understand my excitement. Until he had his first bite.
Now he gets just as excited as I do about peach season.
Admittedly, it’s a little early. August is really when they’re best. But if Mother Nature is going to give us peaches in May, I am not going to say no.
This isn’t really a recipe. More of a suggestion. One you won’t be sorry to follow.
Buy a pound of peaches. You want nice firm fruit that waft peach scent into the air.
Wash and dry them.
Break out a cutting board and start slicing. You can cut in wedges. I go for chunks.
Drop the peaches into a bowl. Or a glass jar. I use a jar because I love opening the fridge and seeing a jar full of gold and pink peaches dripping in their own juices.
Sprinkle the cut peaches with sugar. Or drizzle with honey. I actually prefer honey, but my aunt and grandma always used sugar. I just like the extra sticky syrupyness the honey provides.
Resist the urge to eat these right away. Refrigerate overnight. You won’t be sorry.
I love having a jar of peaches in the fridge all summer.
You can eat them right out of the jar.
Or you can top some Greek yogurt with peaches and granola for a healthy snack or breakfast or a light lunch.
Warm toast, slathered with ricotta cheese, piled with cubed peaches and topped with an extra drizzle of honey is a sweet bruschetta for a 3 O’clock pick me up.
A bowl of peaches topped with a dollop of whipped cream is a virtuous dessert on a hot night.
So go, off to the store with you.
And ask as T.S. Eliot did,
Do I dare to eat a peach?
From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
“Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.”