What To Do With Perfect Peaches

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Sweet and Savory Summer Salads

This summer’s crop of peaches seem to be the most succulent ever. Courtesy of kind friends, we’ve been eating August Pride peaches by  the boxful, and I’m happily exploring new ways to enjoy them. I used to make peach jam and peach conserve, but I noticed that the raspberry jam goes first, so I’m trying out more savory dishes.

The Best Of The Beets

Despite their lush sweetness, peaches are delicious in savory dishes. One of my new favorites is this beet and peach salad, which combines firm slices of ripe peach with earthy beets. Sometimes I use golden beets, sometimes Bull’s Blood beets (with their delicious greens), and sometimes beautiful Chioggia beets (the kind that look like bull’s eyes when sliced). All are excellent, so use whatever your garden offers.

Spinach Salad With Beets and Peaches

4 cups spinach
1 cup diced cooked beets
1 ripe peach, sliced (peeled or not; I usually don’t)
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
few grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

In a bowl, combine spinach, beets, peach slices, and onion. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently toss to coat. Serve garnished with almonds. Serves 4.

Avocados And Peaches

Another pleasing combination is peaches with avocado, which tastes especially refreshing on a hot summer evening (we are finally enjoying a bit of belated heat). The combo is great with any nice vinaigrette, but this version adds considerable zip to shrimp salad.

Zippy Shrimp Salad With Avocado and Peaches

4 cups mixed greens (with some radicchio or arugula)
1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded
8 ounces cooked, cleaned shrimp
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 big ripe peach, sliced (peeled or not; I usually don’t)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoons Thai sweet red chilli sauce
2 tablespoons roasted cashews

In a bowl, combine all but the cashews and gently toss to coat. Serve garnished with cashews. Serves 4.

Sweet And Silken

Like raspberries and pears, full-flavored peaches have a dual nature that lets them meld as readily with garlic as with honey, so why not use both? Here’s a silken, deluxe dressing to make with dead ripe peaches and serve with greens, over rice, fish or chicken, or with roasted vegetables.

Spicy Peach Dressing

2 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
few grains nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes or smoked paprika

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days. Makes about 2 cups.

Fresh Faced And Peachy Clean

Peaches are loaded with vitamins, including A and C, as well as various phytonutrients that feed your face as well as your tummy. Next time you peel a juicy peach, wash your face, then rub it gently with the inside of the peach peel (not around the eyes, though). Leave the sticky stuff on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse away for a soft, refreshed face. Or try this fragrant peach scrub, which adds oatmeal for gentle cleansing and honey for hydration and gentle fragrance.

Peach Face Scrub

2 tablespoons old fashioned rolled oats
1 ripe peach, stoned and chopped (skin on)
1 tablespoon honey

In a food processor or blender, grind oats to a fine meal. Add peach and honey and puree. Wash your face, wrap your hair in a towel, then pat the peach pulp all over, avoiding the area around your eyes. Lie down and relax with closed eyes for 10-20 minutes, then gently scrub face using small, circular motions, and rinse well with tepid water. Pat dry. Yum.

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