Grace Hwang Lynch

Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That

Grace Hwang Lynch

Grace Hwang Lynch
Location
Silicon Valley, California,
Birthday
December 31
Bio
I'm a former television news reporter. Currently a communications consultant, freelance writer, and mother of two. I write about raising a multicultural family at HapaMama, and I'm also the News & Politics Editor at BlogHer. My work has been published in several magazines and newspapers, as well as in the anthologies "Lavaderia: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash and Word" and "Mamas and Papas:On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting" by City Works Press. Follow me on Twitter: @HapaMamaGrace

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AUGUST 22, 2010 7:38PM

Momotaro and White Peach Iced Tea

Rate: 15 Flag

 

white peaches and tea

 

As a very young child, my bedtime stories  didn't come from a book. Nor were they the fairy tales and nursery rhymes familiar to most American tots.

My father told the stories — mostly the same folk tales he heard as a young boy in Taiwan. One of my favorites was the legend of the Peach Boy. It is a story similar to the Japanese folk tale Momotaro, which literally translates into Peach (momo) Son (taro).  From the late 1800's until the end of World War II, the island of Taiwan was under Japanese occupation. The northern country's influence can still be seen in many aspects of Taiwanese society: food, pop culture, and education.

Momotaro
  

Image from kamishibai.com

 The tale of Momotaro starts out with an elderly couple who yearn for children but are getting on in their years (sort of the Asian equivalent to the Judeo-Christian Abraham and Sarai). The old lady is washing clothes in the river one day, when a peach — the biggest, most beautiful peach she has ever seen — comes floating downstream. She takes the fruit home to her husband, and they slice it in half. Out pops a beautiful little baby boy, and against all odds they are parents . That is the way I remember the story, at least.

As an adult, I learned there is another rendition of Momotaro. Curious about the peach, the old woman takes a bite of the fruit, and overcome by the luscious ripeness, she is transformed into a beautiful maiden. (Maybe this is an Eastern corollary to Adam and Eve?) The newly rejuvenated woman goes home to her husband, who does not recognize her, yet is overcome by passion and takes her to bed. In turn, the old man also becomes young again, and his wife becomes pregnant with their son.

Either way, Momotaro the Peach Boy grows up to be warrior, who with — the help of a talking dog, monkey and phesant — liberates the island of Onigashima from its native demons.

If you look at illustrations of the Momotaro story, or any Chinese or Japanese artwork depicting peaches, you will notice the peaches don't always look like the yellow-red fruits we usually see. Instead, the fruit is almost white-pale, with a pink blush.

Qing peach vase
 

Qing Dynasty Peach Vase,  Image From Barnard College

Peaches have a long history, with poems about their pink blossoms  dating back to 1000 B.C. in China. The Spanish introduced the fruit to the United States in the 1500s, with Catholic missionaries planting orchards in California during the 1700s.  

Before World War II, most peaches sold in the United States were also white. The lighter variety fell out of favor until the nineties, but now they account for a quarter of stone fruit sales.

White Peaches CTFA
 

Image courtesy California Tree Fruit Agreement

Just like yellow watermelons are often sweeter than ones with red flesh, white peaches have a higher sugar content than their more colorful cousins. I prefer the tangier flavor and bold color of yellow peaches for baking. The white ones are best eaten straight out of your hand or in other uncooked  recipes. Who knows? Maybe you'll bite into the fountain of youth.

Sources:  San Jose Mercury News,  California Tree Fruit Agreement,   Wikipedia

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White peach iced tea  

 

Ripe peaches and freshly brewed iced tea are some of summer's simple pleasures. Here, the two are mixed  together in a refreshing drink that is nothing like those syrupy bottled drinks that call themselves peach tea. Oolong tea, with its golden color and floral aroma, pairs well with the fruit. If necessary, you can substitute green tea.

White Peach Iced Tea

Ingredients:

1 Ripe White Peach

1 Tbs. sugar, or to taste, if necessary

3-4 Tbs. loose Oolong tea leaves

4 cups cold water

 

Directions:

  1. Put the oolong tea leaves in a teaball or wrap in cheesecloth to form a sachet. Or use an iced tea pitcher with a built-in strainer for leaves.
  2. Place teaball or sachet into pitcher.
  3. Pour cold water over the tea leaves.
  4. Steep for 3-5 hours at room temperature.
  5. While tea is steeping, peel peaches and cut into chunks. Reserve a few slices for garnishing.
  6. Using a food processor, puree the peach chunks.
  7. Add sugar, if peaches are not especially sweet.
  8. Remove tea leaves from pitcher.
  9. Add peach puree and stir. The tea will be pulpy, not clear.
  10. Congratulate yourself for not drinking one of those overly sweet tea-like beverages!

All Text and photos, unless otherwise noted © 2010 Grace Hwang Lynch

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

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Your peach iced tea looks delicious, Grace! I also love the story of Momotaro. Food lore always interested me. Thank you for sharing, ~Rated
Grace, I'd never heard this folk tale before, it's very sweet. The iced tea recipe looks great, too.
I always learn something from your posts - the folk tales are so interesting! And this recipe sounds so refreshing - I'm with you, I don't care for fake peach flavor. Rated.
Fusun- yes, food and folklore are often so intertwined.

Linda- I'm surprised you hadn't heard this story before. It was a staple of my childhood.

Lucy- I once spilled a peach Snapple in my backpack. Believe me, the stickiness is hard to get out!
Sounds much better than the bags of Lipton Peach Tea I made last week.
Sweet memoir, beautifully told tale, delicious-sounding tea.
I wasn't aware of the Momotaro legend; it's fascinating. Your tea sounds quite refreshing, and perfect for summer!
Momotaro. I love the way it trips off the tongue. Thanks for this wonderful story and recipe, Grace, nicely done.
Expertly-written re-telling of this sweet folk tale. You probably know this, but there is also a Momotaro tomato, which is quite good. I wonder if there is a connection there.
This week in peaches has been an education! I love the folk tale (and my mind is going a little weird imagining the part where she turns into a maiden and he is overcome...). Very few things labeled "peach" actually tastes like peaches, and that's a damn shame.
Congratulations, Grace. Truly a winner!
I love fables. I hadn't heard this one. Also, the iced tea sounds like the perfect transition from summer to fall. Rated.
I really enjoyed the backstory and will be making this tonight. rated.
Chilled Iced Peach Tea is also available in cans now from Arizona Iced Tea...
hey, if you make a pitcher of that, i'll come over and help you drink it....sounds soooo refreshing! i like the stories, too...especially the idea of telling as opposed to reading!
Grace, this is a beautiful post. I love the story of Peach Boy. It is a favorite every year in my class when we study Japan during Cherry Blossom time. Beautiful recipe too.~r