It’s a great time of year if you are a fan of peach ice cream, peach cobbler and all other things peachy. Growers are reporting a good crop of late-variety freestone peaches. Freestones are a popular variety that many consumers enjoy for the ease in which the flesh of the peach separates from the seed, making them easy to enjoy as a snack.
North Carolina growers produce more than two dozen varieties of peaches. The majority of peaches grown in the state are available directly from farmers. Consumers can search for farmers markets and roadside stands near them at www.ncfarmfresh.com. The department encourages consumers to check with their local peach grower for availability and timing of their favorite varieties.
North Carolina is home to more than 1,200 acres of peaches. In 2015, growers produced 5,290 tons of the fruit. More information about the state’s peach industry is available from the department’s website and www.NCPeachGrowers.com.
Peaches are great in desserts, on the grill, or, of course, in homemade ice cream. They can be a healthy and delicious salad topping too. Check out the recipe below for a great way to use peaches in a salad.
Andrea’s Peach Salad
Seasonal fruits add a fresh burst of flavor and bold color to a salad, and are fun to experiment with. Watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries and strawberries also make great additions. Almond slices and broccoli slaw give this salad extra crunchiness, but other nuts can be substituted or left out altogether for people with nut sensitivities.
For a large, single-serve meal salad:
3 cups of fresh spinach, mixed greens or lettuce blend
1/2 cup broccoli slaw
1/4 Tablespoon sliced almonds
1 fresh peach, peeled and cut into slices
1/4 medium sized tomato, cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (or another tangy-flavored cheese, such as Feta, Blue cheese or Gorgonzola)
1 mini cucumber, cut into slices
Salad dressing of your choice
Tear larger pieces of spinach or lettuce into smaller pieces and put in the bottom of a bowl. Top with remaining ingredients, saving the peaches for the last layer. The peaches or pieces of fruit often add a juiciness to the salad, so you may need less dressing. Suggestion: A Miso sesame scallion vinaigrette dressing complements the salad well.