There’s something about a peach — the sweet smell, the fuzzy skin, the juicy first bite —that just tells you summer is really on!
Plus, what’s not to love about a fruit that even has its own distinctive basket and its own month. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July to be National Peach Month in 1982.
Peaches are native to northwest China and are a member of the stone fruit family, along with cherries, apricots, plums and nectarines. Stone fruits have one large middle seed. In the case of peaches, that seed can be freestone, meaning the fruit does not cling to the seed, or clingstone, which means it does.
Peaches are a great source for the strong antioxidant Vitamin C, high fiber content and potassium. Peaches can help fight cancer, improve skin texture and contribute to heart and eye health.
These sweet summer fruits are quite versatile. They are great eaten fresh from the basket or sliced on your morning granola, waffle or oatmeal. Freeze some slices and drop them into your fruit smoothie and that summery flavor that will brighten the drink and your day.
Peach jams and jellies are a perennial favorite at The Purple Onion and WV Marketplace. Contemporary cooks experiment with the sweet fruit in salsas, barbecue sauces and spicy chutneys. Jazz up some grilled chicken by brushing it with a peach jam to which you’ve added some curry powder and allspice. At The Purple Onion, we have customers whose pantry isn’t complete without our pineapple, peach and pepper barbeque sauce.
Add peaches to salads like the Peach Salad with Soft Cheese and Spiced Almonds. Or, pick up a rotisserie chicken and flatbread to make the Chicken, Brie and Peach Flatbread for a quick dinner after a day in the sun. Using the store-bought rotisserie chicken saves time for the cook and reduces the time you’ll have the oven on for heating up dinner.
We have a customer whose family thinks the first peaches of every summer should go in this Easy Peach Cobbler. Be sure to pick up some vanilla ice cream to serve on top of the warm dessert.
The peach ice cream recipe from The Silver Palate cookbook is a winner as well.
If you’re into preserving, a friend so swears by the marmalade recipe here that she refers to it as THE Peach Marmalade. She highly recommends that you try this one with white peaches if you can get them.