In the last few weeks, I’ve made multiple trips to my local farmer’s market for the purpose of stocking up on Parker County peaches. I have the same ritual every time. I . . . .
- Fill a bag (with the help of my kids).
- Plunk down money well spent.
- Walk out with a smile, knowing whatever I make with these peaches is bound to be tasty.
I’m writing this post as a way of saying “thank you” to my favorite local summer fruit.
There are countless ways to enjoy our local Texas peaches. There’s peach pie, peach cobbler, and peach crisp; any of these would be an excellent use of your time. You might try your hand at peach shortcake or a peach Dutch Baby. There’s always peach ice cream, and some folks swear by their grandmother’s pickled peaches! I’ll stop there, because I’m beginning to sound a bit like Bubba from the movie Forest Gump when he goes on and on about different ways to eat shrimp. My point is, there are endless possibilities. Here are a few fresh ideas, some of which are inspired by Texas food bloggers.
Idea #1: Get to know your local peaches.
Peach season in Texas runs from May to Labor Day, depending on the variety planted. The early varieties are “clingstones,” named for the manner in which the fruit clings to the pit or stone. “Freestone” peaches ripen later in the summer. If you’re cooking or baking, you’ll appreciate the freestones. If you just want to sink your teeth into a sweet, juicy peach? A clingstone will do the trick nicely. You may already know that we have quite a history and tradition of peaches here in North Texas, which leads me to . . . .
Idea #2: Attend a peach party.
For 31 years and counting, families from all over Texas have gathered in downtown Weatherford the second Saturday of July to celebrate the Parker County Peach Festival. This one-day event draws thousands of visitors, and includes art/food/activity booths, a road bike race, live music, kids activities and a “42” domino tournament. Mark your calendar for next year, and make it part of your family’s summer tradition.
Idea #3: Add cream.
I’m a fan of Lisa Fain’s blog The Homesick Texan. For all the peaches I’ve sliced this summer, I’ve not experienced a more perfect ending to a summer day than her suggested Peaches with Ginger-Lime Whipped Cream. Give this super easy recipe a try, and see if it doesn’t leave you quite content.
Idea #4: Treat yourself.
As moms, we are always thinking about the needs and wants of others. So when I saw this recipe for a Peach Galette for One from The Cowgirl Chef, I had to smile. It’s personal sized, so sharing is entirely optional. Baking is therapeutic for me, and I love the thought of making myself a secret treat on one of those rare, delicious occasions I’m home alone. The dough is divided into four portions, which you can freeze individually and take out when you’re ready to use. If you’re feeling especially generous, you could make a personalized pastry for your kids or husband while you’re at it. Cook’s discretion.
Ideas #5 and #6: Sweeten the pot.
When it comes to barbecue sauce, people’s tastes are highly particular. I particularly loved this recipe for Parker County Peach Barbecue Sauce, attributed to Fort Worth Chef Jon Bonnell. It’s a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and tangy.
My kids also gobbled it up, never even suspecting there were chile peppers involved. Along those lines, I also enjoyed watching them dunk tortilla chips into bowls of this Fresh Peach Salsa. The sweetness of the peach offsets the heat from the jalapeños, making for a colorful, flavorful appetizer.
Idea #7: Don’t forget your greens.
Isn’t this Grilled Peach and Mint Pesto Salad from Love and Lemons gorgeous? It looks like a fantastic side dish for Labor Day Weekend. It might be a great destination for the overgrowth of mint in your garden.
Ideas #8 and #9: Libation and Hydration
I like to support local businesses when I can. I also like to keep things simple. That’s why I love this cocktail, made with locally distilled handcrafted Texas vodka:
Mix four parts store-bought lemonade (I use Simply Lemonade) with one part Western Son Peach Flavored Vodka. Pour over ice and garnish with a peach slice. That’s it. So good.
For a kid-friendly option, scratch the vodka and add a splash of homemade peach syrup to the lemonade. To make peach syrup, bring two parts peeled, pitted, diced peaches + one part sugar + one part water to a simmer until the peaches and sugar begin to dissolve and peach flavor develops. Strain out solids.
Idea #10: Freeze it.
Popsicles. I love them so. Don’t they just represent everything good about summer? This recipe for Vanilla Peach Pops is vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly. I like them because they are beautiful and refreshing.
I’ve enjoyed the heck out of this year’s peach season, and I hope you enjoy these ideas. If you try them, please let me know which ones you liked. You still have time! And, fortunately for us, there’s always next year to look forward to.