My friend Judy, who grew up working on her family’s peach orchard, knows peaches better than almost anyone I know.

“An apple is an excellent thing – until you’ve tried a peach.”

– George Du Maurier (1834-1896)


My friend Judy, who grew up working on her family’s peach orchard, knows peaches better than almost anyone I know.

In fact, when Judy says late summer peaches have a bold flavor that holds well, I believe her and want to find as many ways to eat them as I can while the peaches are fresh.

Judy says that although summer is coming to an end, one can still find fresh summer peaches. One-third of the crop is still to be harvested in western Missouri, especially along U.S. 24 in Lafayette County, where there are numerous orchards.

The other day I visited a nearby orchard and brought home a box of those luscious Missouri peaches that were just picked from the tree. It didn’t take me long to begin trying a few unusual but absolutely delectable peach recipes I collected from neighbors and friends.

It seems like I am not alone in this pursuit of peachy foods because almost everyone I talked with had a peach recipe to share.

I chose three to try before I shared them with you. If you love peaches, I am betting you will love these: peach iced tea, grilled peaches with ice cream for dessert, and grilled chicken with peaches and spinach as the entree.

Note: If you prepare the following three simple peach recipes for the same meal, it could be “peach overkill,” so you might want to try them separately, or if you really love fresh peaches, go for it all.

n Peach dessert – Our neighbor Bill, griller extraordinaire, grills peach halves and serves them with vanilla ice cream. Simply cut peaches into halves leaving the skins, then remove the pits and grill until thoroughly heated. Simple as pie, and come to think of it, tastes like peach pie (optional: sprinkle with nutmeg before grilling).

n Peach tea – Here’s another simple recipe I borrowed that uses fresh peaches in iced tea. Freeze peach slices ahead of time in a glass-baking dish with no preservatives added. Make your favorite sun tea, add one teaspoon peach syrup per glass and drop 2 or 3 frozen peach slices into each. The peaches remain frozen for a long time in the iced tea.  A sprig of mint makes the tea even better.

n Peaches and grilled chicken entrée – Paring peaches with chicken is fast becoming one of my favorite summer entrees. Add a little ginger because peaches and ginger go together so naturally. Serve with spinach and light, homemade vinaigrette, and you have a sweet and tangy creation that is delicately pleasing to the taste. I love this recipe.

Step one – Grill 4-6 chicken breasts.

Step two – Prepare the following basic vinaigrette dressing. Combine one-half cup (or a little less if you prefer) extra virgin olive oil, one-half cup white wine vinegar, one-fourth teaspoon salt, one-eighth teaspoon pepper, and one-fourth teaspoon ginger. Most vinaigrette recipes call for Dijon mustard, but don’t add to this one. Ginger is the key ingredient here.

Step three – Cook 2 cups sliced fresh peaches in saucepan until soft and hot. (Substitute heated canned peaches in the off-season and save some of syrup for your iced tea.)

Step four – Arrange a generous amount of fresh spinach leaves on large serving platter. Place grilled chicken breasts on the spinach. Cover with enough ginger vinaigrette to suit your taste and place hot, cooked peaches on top. The heat of the cooked peaches wilts the spinach.

By the way, if you have some interesting recipes using fresh peaches, drop me a note. I would love to try them.  

It’s all just peachy.

“Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring and because it has fresh peaches in it.” – James Whitcomb Riley, American writer and poet