Peaches and Aquafaba?

August in Berks means the peaches are plentiful, and with just 68 calories and no fat or cholesterol, this summertime treat is much healthier than your average processed snack. Peaches contain 17 grams of “good carbohydrates,” 3 of which come from fiber which is essential to healthy digestion. Peaches also contain an important antioxidant called chlorogenic acid (found in the skin of the peach) which helps keep those dangerous free radicals at bay.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy peaches is with cream. The cream, however, is definitely not the healthiest choice around, and neither is the old standby, whipped “coconut” cream, so when I heard about the newest vegan secret called “aquafaba” I was definitely intrigued. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you’re about to be introduced to America’s newest culinary wonder. A software engineer from Indiana named Goose Wohlt, recently discovered this magic ingredient and coined the phrase Auqafaba (stemming from the Latin words for water and bean). Traditionally, the key ingredient in many desserts such as meringues and mouses is a glossy foam that comes from whipping heavy cream and/or egg whites into peaks. It’s the combination of air bubbles and protein that emulsify into a decadent soufflé when whisked together.

For almost as long as I can remember, my Aunt, Mary Banco (one of the original owners of Banco’s Market in Wyomissing) has whipped up the most decadent homemade chocolate mousse you’ve ever tasted. It’s a classic special occasion tradition in my family, so much so that I can recall several family members (including myself) actually eating it straight off the floor back in nineteen eighty-something when there wasn’t much spring in that springform pan.

Enter: Aquafaba.

Not surprisingly, the market for hummus reached $800 million annually in the U.S. last year; could it really be that the leftover water from a can of chickpeas is going to deliver a frothy dessert ingredient by lightening up my coveted family delicacy? You know those words of wisdom: open your mind, open your heart. I set out to give this crazy idea a try.

Sweeten your leftover chickpea water with a tablespoon of maple syrup and 2 teaspoons of lemon extract and then whisk away. Using a hand mixer, it will take all of about 6 minutes until you see peaks. Unbelievable? I thought so too until I tried it. Be forewarned, it doesn’t have that familiar “freshly whipped cream” taste, but if your diet prevents you from consuming whipped cream or if you choose not to consume dairy products, I think you’ll find this newfound version of vegan “cream” an interesting substitute. Enjoy it with fruit as a parfait, or try it out in your favorite recipe that calls for whipped cream.

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