Summer might be coming to an end but you can still find some of the best summer produce in your store and your local farmers market!
One of my favorite ways to show off seasonal ingredients is by making a gazpacho. Gazpachos are a quick, simple, and nutritious way to highlight nature’s beauty.
For this gazpacho I am using peaches and tomatoes. Both of these “fruits” (haha I almost called a tomato a veggie) peak during the summer. So I want to get my fill now while they are sweet and juicy.
Traditionally, gazpachos are made with raw veggies and fruits. But with this gazpacho I am going half and half. I will be roasting the peaches to bring out that deep sweetness while keeping the tomatoes raw to highlight their acidic sweetness.
Now, eating seasonal produce is important- but so are the cooking techniques in which you prepare it.
In Macrobiotics, it is believed that food has expansive or condensive properties which impart a cooling or warming effect on the body. Leafy vegetables and juicy fruits are expansive. They contain a lot of water and are cooling to the system. Root vegetables and winter squashes are condense and warming to the system. The same applies to cooking techniques. Keeping veggies and fruits raw or lightly steamed is very expansive and cooling. Where as roasting or stewing for hours with the lid on is condensive and warming.
During the summer you can eat mostly raw but I would not recommend it during the winter- you would literally be cold. And during the winter you can eat roasted and stewed food but I wouldn’t recommend that during the summer- you would be hot, sluggish, and maybe even depressed.
Choosing to cook or not to cook helps your body digest and absorb nutrients. In raw foods, all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are present in their whole state. This ensures that you are ingesting everything that that food has to offer. But sometimes, the cell walls in these fruits and veggies can be rather tough for you body to digest and absorb. When food is heated (and even blended), the cell walls are broken down. This allows your body to do less work and absorb nutrients easier and faster. The only downside is that many water-soluble nutrients and vitamins escape during the cooking process.
Now ALL of this being said- life and health is about balance. Mixing and matching raw with cooked produce gives your body access to the biodiversity of nutrients it needs. This is especially important in the shoulder seasons like fall and spring. Fall and spring prepare the earth for the upcoming season. And so should you with the foods you prepare to eat.
*Note: seasonal colds and flus are the result of a body that has not been properly transitioned. In Chinese medicine it is said that you might have a build up of yang from the summer and not enough yin for the approaching winter. Thus creating an imbalance which subjects your immune system to sickness.
This Roasted Peach and Tomato Gazpacho is the perfect example of a balanced Indian summer/early fall soup. It is made with ripe summer tomatoes and peaches which are naturally expansive and cooling. The cooking method keeps the tomatoes raw and cooling while roasting the peaches is warming. So this is a great way to diversify cooking techniques and increase the bioavailability of the nutrients in the food while gradually transitioning your body from summer-to fall-to winter.
Roasted Peach and Tomato Gazpacho
- 4 Peaches, halved
- 1/2 Yellow onion, cut in thirds
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Himalayan Salt
- 1 pint Cherry tomatoes
- 1 Cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 cups Water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss peaches and onion with olive oil and place them face down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle with Himalayan salt.
- Place sheet pan in oven and roast until slightly tender, about 15 mins.
- In a Vitamin, combine peaches, onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, apple cider vinegar, and water. Blend on high until desired consistency.
- Pour gazpacho in a bowl and place in the refrigerator until cold. Serve chilled
If you enjoyed this recipe I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below and be sure to share with family and friends.