Peach column

Grilled peaches can be amplified with a glaze of honey, maple syrup or bourbon and are delicious when eaten in tandem with burrata mozzarella. 

Whether the peaches you buy are grown in the Houston area, the Texas Hill Country or Georgia, now is the perfect time to stock up on the most delicious of all stone fruits.

The months of July and August are peak peach season, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Not only is it the best time to try peaches, but you can find plenty of other ways to implement them into your diet outside of the delicious tradition of peach cobbler or pie, or enjoying slices of red and orange bliss with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

No matter if you’re picking them up from your local grocery store or farmer’s market, peaches can keep for about five days, stored in your refrigerator or a plastic bag.

Inspired by The New York Times Cooking app and others, I’ve tried to think outside the box to put my own twist on a few recipes I’ve read recently that make peaches the focus of an entree instead of a mere accoutrement.

The first time I experimented with cooking with peaches, I used yellow peaches and smaller donut peaches, which have a flatter, round shape and white flesh.

Slicing them in half along the seams allows for an easy, satisfying twist to separate the two halves. You can brush them with vegetable oil or butter, or even maple syrup, molasses or bourbon if you want to add some additional sweetness and smokiness to sink in under the skin.

I grilled the peaches alongside thoroughly-seasoned chicken breasts with ginger, cumin and paprika. I have also done this before on the stove top at medium heat, and it only takes about five minutes to sear the peaches on each side. The grill marks left on the golden yellow flesh of the peach are immensely gratifying.

The key to grilling with fruit is to ensure it is not yet ripe, as it will soften naturally after exposure to high heat. I highly recommend pairing it with bananas, as I tried on one occasion, and pears on another.

For a meatless alternative, try centering your grilled peaches around a beautiful sphere of fresh burrata mozzarella, which I garnished with honey, basil and hot paprika.

If you prefer the fresh taste of the peaches, you can just slice them to your desired size, and scatter them atop a salad with kale, arugula, chicken (or tofu or your protein of choice) and burrata or your cheese of choice. I drizzled a balsamic glaze atop my peach chicken salad, but you can of course use your own preferred dressing to give your salad the kick you’re looking for.

If you’ve come back with bushels full of Fredericksburg-grown peaches after a weekend retreat, don’t fret. You can blend them to make smoothies, a syrup for sodas or cocktails, or homemade peach ice cream. You could also turn them into butter or jam or add them to salsa.

Canning them is a labor-intensive process, but you can also freeze them by adding the juice of one lemon per every eight to 10 peaches to prevent browning, and ½ teaspoon of sugar per peach. The lemon-sugar mixture, when tossed in a gallon-sized freezer bag, will help prevent air pockets.

Got some ideas for peach recipes of your own? Do you recommend any farmer’s markets with great local produce? Send your tips to smodrich@mcelvypartners.com.

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