Photo: Istock.com/Yelena Yenchuk
Peaches are nature’s reward for suffering through the Texas heat. There’s nothing like biting into the first juicy peach of the summer, one that’s been ripened on the tree, not in a paper sack on the kitchen counter. It’s messy business, and not recommended while driving, although I’ve done this before. Now I try to remember to stand over the kitchen sink, at least, but sometimes that first peach cannot wait.
Good peaches don’t need anything to make them better than they are.
My first summer without Texas peaches was in Paris several years ago. Of course, there were French ones available at the weekly markets, but they were small things, and the yellow flesh clung to the pit desperately. I never found freestone peaches there, so I’d slice into whatever I’d find, sometimes trying to pull the peach away from the pit with sheer force and will and end up with a pretty big mess and very little fruit to eat. In North Texas, freestones are latecomers arriving in June and July, and they’re worth the wait. Easier all around. Look for them at local farmers market. A slice through the flesh, and a twist of the wrist, and the pit almost falls out. Peaches don’t need to be difficult.
Peaches are wonderful in pies and tarts, added to homemade vanilla ice cream and made into cobblers, which, several years ago, replaced chocolate cake for my late July birthday. Sweet things with sweet peaches obviously work fine, but so do savory. I’ve added peaches to salads and made soups and quesadillas with them, too. There’s really not much that a Texas peach can’t improve, and if it can make Texas summers bearable, I say, bring on the heat.
Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of COWGIRL CHEF:
Texas Cooking with a French Accent (Running Press). Read her blog
(www.cowgirlchef.com), follow her on Twitter (@cowgirlchef) and Instagram