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August 7, 2009

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Season of the peach

IT is, nowadays, common to feast on water melons in winter while peeling pomelos during the summer. Although such unseasonal activity seem no longer far-fetched thanks to flourishing agricultural technology, there may well be reservations about the extra pest-control chemicals or fertilizers used to either advance or postpone conventional ripening times.

Seasonal produce always stand out as the sensible choice as top-quality fruit is at reasonable prices.

Fruit lovers will revel in an abundance of fresh seasonal fruit on the market in August, as demand is at its peak for fruit to quench the thirst on sweltering days such as juicy melons, grapes, lychees, pears and peaches.

The orchards scattered throughout the city's suburban areas are offering a wide range of peach choices, from Nanhui honey peach, peento or twisted peach in Jinshan District to yellow peach in Fengxian District. According to the peach growers, now is the prime time for Nanhui peaches.

Nanhui honey peaches came into the market one week earlier than usual this year due to scarce rainfall and plentiful sunshine. Total output will surpass 40,000 tons.

Peaches abound in vitamins and minerals, the iron content of which eclipses all the other fruits, about four to six times more than apples or pears. They are a remedy for anemia patients while certain groups of people should avoid eating peaches.

Peaches are warm fruits by their nature.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, a balance of yin and yang plays a critical role in human health. People with higher internal heat ought not to eat too many peaches.

The rich sugar content makes them unsuitable for diabetics. Pregnant women, people with weak gastrointestinal functions including infants and those who are easily allergic are among the groups who should refrain.

Moreover, peaches that are not ripe yet may trigger diarrhea.

Peach juice

For those relatively ripe peaches, home-made mixed peach juice might be an alternative.

Peach and asparagus juice

Ingredient: honey peach (200g), asparagus (150g), lemon (half), honey water (30ml), cold water (100ml), ice (100g)

Preparation: Peel off, slice peaches and asparagus into pieces, squeeze lemon juice, smash ice, honey peach and other materials for 40 seconds.

Function: Clear away lung heat and help digestion.

Honey peach milk

Ingredient: mashed peaches (200ml), honey/brown sugar (10ml), milk/soybean milk (250g), ice (100g)

Preparation: Pour milk into mashed peach juice and mix well with honey and ice for 30 to 40 seconds.

Function: Balance stomach functions and a beauty treatment.

Explore farm fun around the city's suburbs Jinshan District:

The 2009 Jinshan Peento Peach Festival is held at Luxiang Town and Langxia Town.

The orchards in Luxiang Town are the country's biggest planting base for flat peaches, covering an area of almost 667 hectares. One of its fine peento types has been selected for supply to World Expo 2010.

The annual festival also features an exhibition of peasants' paintings and a promotion fair for farm products from Luxiang Town.

Date: through August 10

Venue: Sanyuan Orchard, 1818-1588 Jinzhang Rd

How to get there:

1. Xujiahui??Humin Elevated Road??A4 Expressway??A30 Expressway??A6 Expressway??Luxiang exit??Zhulu Road

2. People's Square??Yan'an Elevated Road??A9 Expressway??A5 Expressway??A30 Expressway (in Xinnong direction)??Luxiang exit??Zhulu Road

Jiading District:

The 2009 Shanghai Malu Grape Festival is held at Malu Grape Park.

Date: through October 7

Address: 27 Dazhi Rd, near Liuxiang Rd

Admission: 30 yuan (US$4)

How to get there: A12 Expressway°???Malu exit??Liuxiang Road??Dazhi Road

Nanhui, Pudong New Area:

The Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center has been promoting three new itineraries focusing on peach orchards and countryside villages in Nanhui, Pudong New Area since July. Tourists can pick peaches, visit scenic spots and try farm work during these one-day trips.

Tickets: 100 yuan, 110 yuan, 120 yuan (including a 2.5-kilogram gift pack of peaches)

Tel: 6426-5555How to pick?

Pay attention to the color and luster first and then smell the fruity flavor to roughly judge whether it is fresh or not. The quality of peaches mainly relies on its species and picking time. Those top graded are usually in proper shape, lack coarse fibers and are easier to peel.

How to store?

It is suggested you keep peaches at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator. The fruity fragrance of peaches will fade away along with their sweetness in cold conditions. Dipping peaches in cold water (about 10 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes first before eating will be a palatable way to retain the fruits' nutrition. (But the taste will disappear if dipped for too long.)

How to wash?

The fuzz on peaches is always a problem so certain cleaning methods are needed.

Three practical ways as follows:

Moisten peaches in a bowl and coat them with some fine salt, rub softly, soak in clean water and then wash several times.

Brush peaches first and clean them in salt water.

Dip peaches in soda water for a moment without any rubbing to enable the fuzz to come off by itself.


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