But it’s not the only way to have a peach. Fresh peaches can not only be enjoyed raw and cooked in desserts, but can also be roasted, grilled, pickled and even frozen to enjoy a summer sun in the middle of winter.
Eating peaches is also a tastier way of getting essential vitamins and nutrients into your body than swallowing a pill. According to Rachael Hartley, nutritionist and author of Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating, peaches are rich in vitamins A and C and great for digestion because they contain prebiotic fiber, which nourishes beneficial gut bacteria.
“They also contain potassium, which can help maintain healthy blood pressure, as well as antioxidants, especially in and around the skin of a fresh peach,” she said.
However, if you’re not a fan of the flaky texture of peaches, you can always substitute nectarines for any of the recipe ideas here and enjoy the same nutritional benefits. Or try other members of the stone fruit family like plums, pluots (a cross between plum and apricot), and apricots.
In fact, you could eat peaches all day instead of eating the same dish twice. How to maximize your peach perfection with recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and of course for dessert.
Peaches for breakfast
Overnight oats are a trend that won’t be fading anytime soon, and summer is the ideal time to enjoy this laid-back breakfast dish. Add freshly cut peaches with oats, milk, and spices to a mason jar and you’ve got a sweet peach cobbler-inspired treat on you in the morning. This easily customizable recipe can be made vegan with plant-based yogurt and milk of your choice, or any combination of dairy products that suits you. For the most decadent brunch, peach-filled French toast with fresh peach quickbread is an over-the-top meal where you retreat to the hammock for the remainder of the weekend. If baking homemade quick bread isn’t in your plans, substitute challah, or soft Italian bread.
Barbecue for lunch and dinner
Fire up the grill and add a little heat to your peaches to make a sweet, charred accompaniment to a number of dishes.
To grill peaches, preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Halve and core the peaches, then brush the cut halves with olive oil or vegetable oil. Place with the cut surface facing down and cook without a lid for 4 to 5 minutes, until grill marks appear and the peaches come off the grillage easily. Turn carefully and cook for a few more minutes, until the skin is slightly charred.
Grilled peaches become the star of the show in a large salad, like this quinoa, peach, and summer vegetable salad that works as a main course. Or simply sprinkle them with balsamic vinegar and high-quality olive oil along with a pinch of sea salt flakes and serve as a fruit salad. Use sliced grilled peaches as a flatbread topping with a creamy cheese like burrata or ricotta, a handful of fresh vegetables like arugula and one optional portion of protein such as grilled steak or shrimp. Or slip a few slices into a grilled cheese sandwich or burger for a sweet and salty combo.Dice grilled peaches and turn them into a fresh salsa that’s ready to be spooned into fish tacos or as a topping for lighter meals like grilled fish, chicken breast or pork tenderloin or chops.
An outdoor happy hour is always happier with a special cocktail to sip and a pasture board to snack on. Pickled peaches are a savory addition to soft cheeses such as fresh goat cheese, Brie or Taleggio, which in turn taste fantastic with sausage products such as prosciutto and bacon. Combine your cheese and sausages with a peach drink. Peach lemonade can be served pure or enriched with vodka or rum. Peach margaritas are a mixed drink that is better made than with a mix. And a peach bourbon smash will be a new favorite for those who love mint juleps.
No summer potluck table would be complete without a peach dessert, be it a traditional peach cake, a sprinkle of chips or a biscuit-covered cobbler. But do you know what makes one of these desserts even more peachy? Top it off with a scoop of peach ice cream or plain Philadelphia-style peach ice cream that doesn’t require cooking custard on the stove.And if you can’t decide which peach dessert you’re craving the most, eat your cake – and cobbler – and eat it too by indulging in a peach cobbler cake from a cast iron pan.
Save some for later
Bagged frozen peaches are an option all year round, but if you have plenty of peaches on hand at the end of summer, you can freeze your own supply of cakes, smoothies, and cobblers in the colder months.
“Freezing doesn’t damage the nutrients in peaches significantly, and it’s a great option to store peaches when you ingest a few too many and they start going bad,” Hartley said.
To freeze fresh peaches, if necessary, you can blanch them in boiling water to remove the peel or leave the peel on. Core and slice, then arrange the peach slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until hard, then place in a sealable bag for long-term storage.
Casey Barber is a food writer, illustrator, and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Branded Treats”; and editor of the website Good. Eat. Stories.
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