Late summer peaches are one of life’s sweetest joys. We are lucky to live near a bunch of farms that grow peaches AND allow you to spend an afternoon picking them. My family and I recently trekked to Great Country Farms in Bluemont, VA to take advantage of their bounty.
We paid a small admission fee ($8 per child, $10 per adult) and hopped on a tractor-pulled wagon for a ride to the orchard.
Once there, the whole family sprang into action and went totally overboard filling the box. I love peaches as much as the next guy, but what was I going to do with all of them? I don’t bake, so peach pie was out. I don’t know how to can, so preserving them was out. Basically, I needed some quick and easy recipes to enjoy these peaches before they went bad.
To the interwebs!
After pouring over a bunch of recipes, I went rogue and tore my kitchen apart testing them. Here are my favorites. I am sure you’ve been in this same predicament — with apples, too — so I hope these inspire you to get out in the sunshine and pick a peck of peaches!
(If anyone has successfully made fruit leather in the oven, please let me know! It was less than picture-perfect, to say the least.)
I encourage you to adjust the ratio of the ingredients to your liking. If spicy foods are your thing, include the seeds of the jalepeno for a kick.
Peaches, cut into bite-sized chunks or diced
Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Red Onion, finely chopped
Jalapeno, finely chopped
Fresh Lime Juice, approx. 2 limes
Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl, add lime juice, cilantro and a pinch of salt. This recipe gets better after the flavors have melded for a day. Serve as an accompaniment to grilled pork or chicken, or chow down with tortilla chips.
PEACH BBQ SAUCE (Gwyneth Paltrow)
This is a zippy and tangy alternative to regular BBQ sauce. It also has less of the bad stuff like sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, etc. Make a bunch and give as gifts!
1 cup chopped, peeled fresh peaches
1/2 cup ketchup (I used sugar-free ketchup from Paleo Chef)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 teaspoon soy sauce or coconut aminos
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, simmer until peaches are very soft and flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool. Pour peach mixture into a blender and purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over your favorite grilled meat.
ARUGULA SALAD WITH PEACHES
This recipe (if you can even classify it as a recipe) was so simple but so incredibly delicious that I may have it every day until the box of peaches is empty. The peppery arugula works really well as a counterpoint to the sweet, juicy peaches.
Peaches cut into bite-size chunks
White Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Toss arugula and peaches together, drizzle with balsamic and olive oil, finish with a pinch of salt. Serve with crab cakes (which are also in season).
GRILLED PEACHES WITH COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
This is another spectacularly easy recipe with a big pay-off at the end. Impress your friends with this non-dairy, gluten-free dessert at your next party.
Peaches (almost ripe), halved (one half per serving)
Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Mint leaves for garnish
Heat grill to medium low, cook peaches cut-side down for 4-5 minutes until charred. Flip peaches and continue cooking for 4-5 more minutes or until soft. Scoop ice cream onto peach half, drizzle with honey and garnish with mint. This is delicious with a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
And now a little something from Charlie’s Cocktail Corner:
PEACH & ROSEMARY INFUSED MAPLE RYE COCKTAIL
This is the most complicated of all the recipes in this article, but it’s well worth it. The addition of club soda takes this from a heavy drink to a quite refreshing summer cocktail.
Ingredients for 1 drink
1/4 Peach, chopped, plus a few slices for garnish
1 1/2 tbsp Rosemary Maple Syrup
1 tbsp strained Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Rye
Pinch of Smoked Sea Salt
Rosemary Sprig for garnish
Muddle together the chopped peach, rosemary maple simple syrup, lemon juice, rye, and salt in a measuring cup or glass. Strain the mixture into a tumbler filled with ice, pressing on the fruit pulp. Top it with a splash of sparkling water or club soda. Garnish with the peach slices and rosemary sprig.
Rosemary Maple Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 cup, enough for 10 drinks
3/4 cup lightly packed rosemary leaves (from about 10 sprigs), roughly chopped
1/2 cup (5 3/4 ounces by weight) maple syrup
1/2 cup water
Combine the rosemary, maple syrup, and water together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then cover and steep for at least 15 – 30 minutes. Strain the mixture though a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the rosemary to extract all the liquid. Discard the rosemary. The syrup will keep, refrigerated, for at least several weeks.
Great Country Farms
18780 Foggy Bottom Road
Bluemont, VA 20135
If using GPSs, watch for the entrance signs once on Foggy Bottom Road. The GPS will take you to the mailbox at a back gate which does not allow entrance.