Elevate your culinary creations with the perfect balance of flavours by exploring the enchanting world of what goes with peaches. Join us as we unveil the best ingredients and techniques to enhance the juicy sweetness of peaches.
What is Peach?
One of the greatest things about summer, apart from long sunny days and the beach, is the emergence of stone fruit!
Peaches are a juicy fruit that has been satisfying taste buds for centuries. Originating in China, peaches made their way to the Middle English peche or peach tree. Scientifically known as Prunus persica, peaches are part of the rose family and love a good warm climate to grow in.
Peaches have yellow flesh with yellow skin that has a pink blush on the surface, and they come in two types: clingstone and freestone.
The flesh of a clingstone peach stubbornly attaches itself to the stone like it’s trying to win an award, whereas the flesh of a freestone peach separates easily from the stone. Bet you’ve eaten both types but never knew the clingstone and freestone terminology. I always thought it was the luck of the draw!
Another interesting comparison you can make with peaches is whether they are melting or non-melting peaches. Melting peaches at maturity becomes overly soft and quite fibrous.
These are the peaches that don’t hold their shape very well, and if you try to cut them, they tend to squish and fall apart. Non-melting peaches, as you can guess, are the opposite. They manage to stay firm during maturity.
Fun fact: Georgia is known as the “Peach State” and is one of the largest peach producers in the US.
From a health perspective, peaches are nutritional powerhouses. They’re packed with antioxidants, dietary fibre, vitamins A and C, and bioactive compounds that make your heart and skin happy.
Peaches are a beloved fruit that comes in many varieties, each with unique characteristics and uses. Here are some of the most popular peach types and how they can be enjoyed:
Yellow flesh peaches: With their yellow skin and yellow flesh, these peaches have a pink blush on the surface. They are sweet and juicy and have a balanced tartness, making them perfect for eating fresh. They can also be used for grilling, baking, and making jams and preserves.
White peaches: Pale white-fleshed peaches have a sweet, floral flavour with a low acidity level. They are commonly used in desserts like tarts, pies, and ice creams.
Doughnut peaches: These peaches, also called Saturn Peaches, have a flat and round shape, resembling a doughnut, and come in white or yellow flesh varieties. They are juicy and sweet, with a low acidity level, making them perfect for snacking, salads, grilling, and baking.
Freestone peaches: These large freestone peaches have flesh that separates easily from the pit, making them ideal for eating raw, canning, and making jams and preserves.
Clingstone peaches: The flesh of clingstone peaches cling to the pit, making them better suited for pickling, canning, and making jams and preserves.
Nectarines: Yes, these are a variant of peaches! The difference with nectarines is that they are smooth-skinned and firm, with a sweet and tangy flavour. They have a high sugar content and a low acidity level, making them ideal for eating raw, grilling, and baking. Nectarines also come in yellow or white varieties.
What Goes with Peach?
Fruit and Vegetables
Apricot, blackberry, blueberry, celery, cherry, corn, elderberry, endive, fennel, fig, ginger, grape, honeydew, kale, kiwi, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mulberry, nectarine, plum, rambutan, raspberry, rocket, strawberry, tomato, zucchini.
Herbs, Nuts and Spices
Allspice, almond, basil, cinnamon, cloves, hazelnut, lemon thyme, macadamia nuts, mint, nutmeg, pecan, pistachio, rosemary, sumac, tarragon, thyme, walnut.
Protein and Other
Bulgur, butter, chicken, chickpea, couscous, duck, freekeh, honey, lamb, lentil, palm sugar, pesto, pork, prosciutto, rose water, vanilla.
What Does Peach Taste Like?
Flavour: You would have no doubt realised that there are 2 types of peaches: white and yellow.
The white peaches are sweet with very little tartness, while the yellow peaches, while sweet, also have a bit of acidity.
The flavour profile of a peach can also be influenced by its aroma, which is often described as fruity and floral. Some varieties of peaches have a more intense or complex flavour, with hints of honey, vanilla, or nuttiness.
Texture: The exterior of the peach has a slightly fuzzy or velvety feel. I’m not sure if you knew this, but a peach with smooth skin is a nectarine.
The colour of the skin ranges from white to blush pink to sometimes red. But the colours tend to be in an ombre style as it varies from light to dark, depending on which peach you’re looking at.
The same goes for the flesh in terms of colour. It can be white, yellow or light pink/red.
The flesh of a ripe peach is delicate and easily breaks apart, with a smooth and slightly fibrous texture. Depending on the variety, the texture of peaches can range from melting and soft to firm and crisp.
In my family, I like mine firm, while my daughter likes them super soft, so I do have to select different varieties when grocery shopping. Which do you prefer?
How to Use Peach in Salads and Side Dishes?
Raw: The best way to have peaches in a salad is in its natural form. They are better on the firmer side so that it holds their shape and doesn’t turn to mush when tossed. You can cut them into wedges, slices or even matchsticks.
The sweet and juicy flavour of raw peaches goes amazingly well with savoury stuff like cheese, herbs, and nuts. And they’re a perfect fit for fruit salads, too, like our amazing stone fruit salad with tapioca. Oh, how we love a fresh peach salad!
Grilling: Grilling ripe peaches takes things up a notch, enhancing their natural sweetness and giving them a smoky flavour that pairs perfectly with savoury ingredients like goat cheese and red onion.
Roasting: Toss sliced peaches with some oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them in the oven until they are tender and caramelised. Once roasted, you can up your salad game by combining them with mixed greens, crumbled goat cheese, toasted nuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette for a burst of flavour.
They can also be served as a side dish alongside grilled meats or roasted vegetables, adding a touch of sweetness and depth of flavour to the meal.
Boiling: Boiling helps break down the fruit and extract its juices, which is a common method for making jams, preserves, and syrups. We’ve used this method to whip up a peach chutney that can be used as a dressing or as a side to jazz up a charcuterie board.
Poaching: Poach peeled peaches in a syrup of sugar, water, and spices until they are soft and tender. This method will infuse the peaches with the flavours of the syrup. Once poached, let the peaches cool before incorporating them into your salad or side dish.
Sautéing: Sauté sliced peaches in a little butter until they are caramelised and golden. This method will add richness and depth of flavour to the peaches.
Salads and Side Dishes with Peach
Ultimate summer salad recipe with fresh peaches, juicy tomatoes, aromatic basil vinaigrette mingled with creamy lush burrata cheese. This peach burrata salad is an easy yet elegant side dish to serve at barbecues, dinner parties or long lunches.
Time to turn on your grill and intensify your summer peach season with our grilled peach salad recipe. Juicy tender grilled peaches combined with creamy, salty marinated feta and a crispy arugula endive salad, this summer side dish is stunning to serve and absolutely delicious to share.
This sweet Stone Fruit Salad served with tapioca pearls and a drizzle of homemade orange syrup is such a fun way to end an evening of entertaining. Let your guests help themselves as they build their own little bowl of perfection.
Frequently Asked Questions
When picking peaches, first look for fully ripened ones with a sweet fragrance. Gently press the fruit with your fingertips to check for firmness; a ripe peach will yield slightly to pressure.
Avoid those with bruises, blemishes, or soft spots, as they may be overripe or have been damaged. The colour of the skin is also important; a ripe peach should have a uniform, golden-yellow background with a slight blush of red on one side.
To store peaches, it’s best to keep them at room temperature until they are ripe, which can take anywhere from one to four days, depending on their ripeness when purchased. Once ripe, peaches can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.
If you want to extend their shelf life, pop them into the fridge straight away after purchasing.
Avoid washing the peaches until you’re ready to eat them, as excess moisture can cause them to spoil faster. Finally, try to store peaches away from other fruits and vegetables, as they release a gas called ethylene, which can cause other produce to ripen and spoil more quickly.
Peaches tend to ripen within one to four days, depending how ripe they were when purchased.
To ripen peaches quickly, place them in a brown paper bag with a ripe banana or apple, which will release ethylene gas that speeds up the ripening process. Close the bag loosely and leave it at room temperature, checking daily for ripeness.
More Ingredient Pairing Ideas
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