A perfectly ripe peach is the sweet apotheosis of summer. After the seasonal first thrill of eating peaches out of hand (preferably over the sink, to catch the fragrant, golden juices), there are almost endless other ways to use them, from perfect peak-season fruit salads and fresh fruit salsa to classic cobblers, crumbles, and crisps. But there are less conventional things to do with them too, from grilling them to preserving them as cordial. Here are 11 of our favorite ways to eat as many peaches as possible while they’re in season.
Some of these ideas were culled from our Home Cooking board when this piece was first published in 2014, while others are more recent additions, but they are all delicious, and perfect for packing more peaches into your life. Enjoy!
Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between a Peach and a Nectarine?
As pointed out by Chowhound user alkapal, peaches are great with Riesling. Just drop a few ripe slices in your wineglass and eat them once you’ve drained it for a dead-easy dessert. But combine them in a sorbet, and the result is even better. Get the recipe.
For a great summer hors d’oeuvre, Lynndsey Rigberg suggests topping baguette toasts with triple-crème cheese and caramelized peach slices (seared in a hot pan with butter), then finishing with drizzles of reduced balsamic and honey. We love that idea, but for something even faster, make a no-cook peach and mozzarella (or burrata) salad with a white balsamic dressing. (You could also add peaches to a roasted chicken salad with goat cheese and toasted pecans, per the recommendation of DishDelish.) Get the Peach Caprese Salad recipe.
As elenacampana attests, ginger-pickled peaches go amazingly well with baked ham and roasted pork dishes of all kinds, but we’d try them with a sharp aged cheddar and crusty bread too. Get the recipe.
If you’re a fan of the warmth of ginger against the sweetness of peaches, try our easy frozen margarita that blends them both with tequila. It’s a great addition to your summer sipping repertoire. Get our Frozen Ginger-Peach Margarita recipe.
Chowhound user silvergirl isn’t the only one who thinks peach pancakes are delicious. And easy, too! Just toss diced fruit into your favorite pancake batter (a sprinkle of cinnamon is optional but highly recommended). However, for something a little more sophisticated, try a clafoutis, a low-key fancy sort of puffed French pancake that works for all sorts of summer fruit and is even easier than traditional pancakes, as there’s no flipping involved. Get the recipe.
This salsa would be equally good on fish tacos, but it’s a nice way to dress up simple chicken on a weeknight, and you can intensify the sweet heat with peach hot sauce too. Get our Buttermilk Chicken with Peach-Tomato Salsa recipe.
Ripe peaches are even great in chilled soup, an ideally light and refreshing—and deliciously fragrant—summer lunch, with toasted croutons and slivered almonds for a little crunch to contrast the silky-smooth puree. Get Daniel Humm’s Peach Gazpacho recipe.
Grill peaches when they’re still semi-firm enough to hold up to the heat and the sugars caramelize for a sweet, smoky, complex treat that’s equally great in desserts as it is in savory dishes. Threaded onto skewers with fresh sage leaves, grilled peaches make a great complement to grilled chicken sausages (but would work with pork or firm white fish as well). Get our Grilled Peach & Chicken Sausage Skewers recipe.
This is the sort of simple, swoon-worthy bite you can only get away with when peaches are at peak ripeness. This sweet take on bruschetta pairs the fruit with mascarpone, hazelnuts, Frangelico, and honey, but the same idea is great taken in a savory direction too, with peaches and herbed ricotta on toasted bread, perhaps with a shred of prosciutto for a salty contrast. Get our Peach and Hazelnut Mascarpone Bruschetta recipe.
10. Peach Shrub
If your peaches are a bit too ripe to eat out of hand, one great way to preserve them is to make a shrub, a sweet-tart drinking vinegar that’s a fabulous base for mocktails (or regular old cocktails too). Get our Peach Shrub recipe.
Related Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Shrubs
There are plenty of inventive ways to incorporate peaches into sweets (just see our Roasted Peach and Dulce de Leche Bread Pudding recipe), but sometimes a classic is called for: peach pie is always divine, but potentially fussy with all the rolling and crimping. So we just as often pick a peach crisp (see our video below) or even a a Slow Cooker Peach Crumble. In the same family of easy fruit desserts, a peach cobbler also takes the cake. Vanilla ice cream is a must for any of the above, of course. Get our Easy Peach Cobbler recipe.
Related Video: How to Make Easy Peach Crisp
Header image courtesy of New Africa/Shutterstock.