Chef Kelly Unger
Peaches are almost gone - enjoy them until the very end!
Peaches have been with us at the Doylestown Farmers Market for a while now and they are nearly at the end. I hope you have taken the time to really sit and focus on the flavor of Bedminster Orchard’s peaches in the past few weeks. Brett at Bedminster Orchard grows his varieties for flavor and flavor only, which is one of 100 reasons why buying local is best. Large corporate growers have to grow for storage and shipping conditions which does not yield the kind of flavor you get from a local, hand picked beauty that Brett brings us. That May freeze we had really damaged the majority of Brett’s peach crop, so we are so very lucky to have the peaches at all. And enjoying a perfectly ripe local peach is part of the essential Summer experience, isn’t it?
Peaches (and nectarines) are a great source of health. “The skin of peaches and nectarines has a quality that’s sticky to toxins and poisons inside the intestinal tract. These skins cling to deep-seated pockets of debris; old, putrefied food; and mucus inside the small intestine and the colon, driving them out to make room for friendly bacteria and microorganisms and allow for better nutrient absorption. The juicy nature of a peach or nectarine is unique in the sense that it’s combination of fruit acid along with mineral salts and sugars, with an astringent phytochemical compound close to the pit that allows for rejuvenation close to the liver’s inner core.” (Anthony William, Liver Rescue) Proof yet again, peels are vital to the total nutrition benefit of fruits and vegetables. Permission once more to not waste time peeling. Keep the peels!
So you’ve made your peach pie, you’ve made your cobbler. What else can we do with these beauties before they’re gone? I love grilling peach halves and then topping them with ice cream. Grilling them quickly on high heat caramelizes the natural sugar while not rendering the whole peach mushy. Just keep them on long enough to get those grill marks, soften the peach a little and be able to see the natural brown peach sugar caramel. You can also use your peach pits to flavor your vodka or your daily water. If you’re planning to stock up on peaches, and I would highly recommend it, you can freeze peach slices quite easily. Place sliced peaches in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for about one hour before transferring to a freezer bag or container for long term storage. And KEEP THE SKINS ON! These frozen slices will be perfect for smoothies or baking when Winter’s chill takes hold.
Have you considered savory peach dishes? Peaches and tomatoes love each other on the plate. Diced fresh peaches, tomatoes, a jalapeno and some fresh herbs, a little salt and pepper make a delicious, quick and healthy salsa. A pureed, grilled peach mixed with some olive oil and white balsamic vinegar makes a delicious dressing. But if you haven't got time to grill your peach, just make a dressing with a fresh peach.
I add coconut water to my dressing. Coconut water is super hydrating and nutritious on its own but it also has the superpower to boost the nutritional content of anything it’s paired with. I also love the extra light sweetness that it brings.
Fresh Peach Dressing
1 whole peach, pitted and cut into 4 pieces
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil (olive oil can be substituted but the finished flavor of the dressing will be different since olive oil will impart its flavor while grapeseed oil is flavorless)
3 tablespoons coconut water
Juice of 1 fresh lemon (for flavor and to prevent the peaches from turning brown)
Optional - pinch of white pepper or a grind of black pepper
Option – if you’re not using the coconut water, you can substitute with 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to suite your taste. Depending on the juiciness and size of your peach and personal preference, you can thin your dressing with more coconut water or tap water if choosing to use vinegar. Enjoy!
And since tomatoes are thankfully still with us, how about a Yellow Tomato and Peach Gazpacho! This recipe from Martha Stewart makes a perfect end of Summer meal paired with Nord bread.