Peaches And Summer

Peaches And Summer

3 yellow peaches on a white background. One peach is cut open to reveal the pit in the middle.

I was in Florida during peach season and I picked up several peaches to eat. The aroma was intoxicating. The sweetness of the fruit was delectable.

The Pits 

A basket filled with stone fruits: a nectarine, a peach, an apricot, a plum, and several cherries.

Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, and cherries are all in the same category of fruits. They are considered stone fruits, or drupes, due to their stone like hard pits. These are fruits that have a seed encased inside a hard covering known as an endocarp. The fruity exterior, the flesh called a mesocarp, is covered with a skin that is called an exocarp. A peach, working our way from the inside out, has an endocarp, a mesocarp, and an exocarp. There are over 2,000 varieties of peach, thought to be of Chinese origin. Interestingly, peaches are in the Rosacea family, commonly known as the rose family.

Peaches can be separated into three distinct groups; freestone, clingstone, and semi-freestone. Freestone peach fruit is easily removed from around the hard pit. Conversely, clingstone peaches have a fruit that is difficult to separate from the pit. The semi-freestone peaches are a hybrid of clingstone and freestone peaches. The sweetness of a peach has several variables. A ripe peach will be sweeter than an unripe fruit, and a yellow peach is not as sweet as the white peach counterpart. The fruit can be used in pies, cobblers, bread, and ice cream recipes. Peaches can also be grilled, or sliced and incorporated into salads, or smoothies. Even peach flowers can be edible and incorporated into beverages, including tea.

Peach Tea 

A ceramic white teapot and adjacent cup and saucer painted with an orange fruit design. A peach is in front of the teapot.

In Korea, peach blossom tea is an herbal tea called Dohwa-cha. It is comprised of dried peach blossoms, with reportedly a lightly sweet taste profile. It is believed to help alleviate constipation and a common home remedy for that ailment. If caffeine is what you are looking for, peach blossoms can be included in green, white, or black tea.

There are a few teas that have a stone fruit flavor note to them without actually having peach blossoms, peach flavoring or dried peach bits in the tea. Keemun Mao Feng tea, a black tea from China, has a flavor profile of a stone fruit with a hint of apricots and rose. It is a tea that is plucked in early spring for a select and shortened period of time. The early spring plucking creates a lighter, and fruitier tea than the later season fuller bodied flavorful Keemun. Another tea from China that has a hint of stone fruit is the smokey Chinese tea known as Lapsang Souchong. This tea has a suggestion of a stone fruit aroma with a subtle flavor profile of dark stone fruits. The aroma and flavor profiles are slight indeed with the smokiness a predominant aroma and flavor in this richly flavored black tea.

Osmanthus tea and Oriental Beauty teas have naturally occurring notes of stone fruit in their profiles. Osmanthus tea is an Oolong tea. It has an aroma of peach and apricot stone fruits. The flavor profile is slightly more apricot than peach. This tea is a lightly balled Oolong and incorporates blossoms of the osmanthus plant. Evidently, teas that are oxidized 40% or more develop aromatic compounds called “ionones” and “damascones”. These chemical compounds give off an apricot and ripe peach aroma. The Taiwanese Oolong, Oriental Beauty, originally called Formosa Oolong, also has aroma and flavor notes of peaches. The leaves for this tea are picked one time only during a year, in summertime. This makes the beautiful Oolong a perfect summertime tea!

Lastly, one Darjeeling tea in particular often has a stone fruit aroma and flavor profile along with the muscatel flavor notes. Margaret’s Hope is a tea garden located in an elevation range of 3,000 to 6,000 Ft., in the Darjeeling region of India. The second flush tea (the second pluck of the season) can have a faint peach and apricot aroma and flavor to the infusion.

Just Peachy 

Two slices of bread spread with butter and peach jam on top of a brown paper bag.

Fruit teas are a wonderful addition to any tea repertoire during the spring and summer months. The teas previously mentioned have more subtle aroma and flavors of stone fruits. There are teas that are blended with dried fruit pieces and often stone fruit flavoring, like peach, apricot, or plum that include more intense flavors to the tea blend. While I am writing this blog I am sipping on Country Afternoon tea. It is a green tea with a fragrant aroma of jasmine and peach. I will drink my tea hot at any time of the year and this tea is a wonderful mix of floral and stone fruit aroma and taste. It is as if I am walking in a flower garden while eating a juicy peach! This tea bodes well as an iced tea. To me, the peach notes are more abundant in the cold tea than the hot tea. Plus, this tea is sweet enough that sugar is not needed, maybe a touch of honey if more sweetness is desired.

One of my go-to summer time teas is a blend of apricot and peach infused in Peach Apricot black tea. Peach and apricot can be joined to create a mouth watering juicy, sweet and fruity tea. The peach and apricot tea is delicious hot or iced. However, the fruity and floral notes in the aroma are more detectable in the hot tea, rather than the cold tea. The tea served iced is a delight. The jammy peach and apricot flavors remind me of toast slathered with a big dollop of tangy and sweet peach and apricot jam. This is a flavor-packed tea that showcases exceedingly well as an iced tea. Perfect for the summertime! 

Hopefully you can enjoy nature’s bounty this season by incorporating peaches on the table and in the cup. Stay cool during June, the Iced Tea Month, with a glass of iced peach tea, black or green.

Leslie

References: 

Better Homes and Gardens. “New Complete Guide to Gardening.” Meredith Books, 1997.

Chan, Trista, MHScRD. “What’s The Difference Between Peaches And Nectarines?”. Healthline, June 31, 2021. www.healthline.com

Pratt, James Norwood. “Tea Dictionary”. Tea Society, 2010.

Women’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 8. Fawcett Publications, 1966.

About The Author

A photo of Leslie on the patio wearing a pink cardiganLeslie Sundberg is a World Tea Academy Certified Tea Specialist, a World Tea Academy Apprentice Tea Sommelier, a Specialty Tea Institute Level IV trained Tea Specialist, and a Tea and Business Etiquette Specialist. On any given day, Leslie can be found teaching, speaking or sharing in the joys of a cup of tea.  No matter what Leslie is doing or where she is, one thing remains constant: 4:00 in the afternoon is tea time!

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