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Eat this! Fresh peaches, summer’s bounty

City-Provisions’ smoked-peach soup.

City-Provisions’ smoked-peach soup.

What it is: Prunus persica, a sweet, luscious, juicy stone fruit with a slightly fuzzy skin, is a delight of summer.

Cleetus Friedman (Photo by Christina Noel Photography).

Cleetus Friedman

Where it comes from: Peaches originated in China, where they were cultivated at least as far back as the 10th century B.C. Alexander the Great is said to have introduced them to Europe, and 16th-century Spanish explorers brought them to the New World.

What to do with it: Buy only ripe peaches; choose fruits with at least a slight give to them and a pronounced peachy scent. Rock-hard, odorless peaches will never ripen satisfactorily.

Eat peaches out of hand or in fresh fruit salads, bake them into cakes and pies, churn them into ice cream, broil them to accompany meat or poultry … peaches are versatile, and work beautifully in both sweet and savory recipes. At City Provisions in Ravenswood, Chef Cleetus Friedman smokes fresh peaches and then purees them into a chilled soup.

City Provisions’ smoked-peach soup
Chef Cleetus Friedman

3 quarts fresh peaches
1 cup water
4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno, diced
Zest and juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper to taste
Mint sprigs

Pit the peaches, reserving the pits for smoking. In a smoker, smoke the peaches for 45 minutes with half hickory chips and half peach pits. Remove and let cool.

When the peaches are cool, drain well, then peel them. Discard the skins and transfer the peaches to a blender. Add the water, juice, onion, jalapeno, honey, lime zest and juice, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours. Pour the soup into bowls or cups. 20 servings.

 
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