Nothing beats a tree-ripened peach eaten out of hand. But as they flood markets over summer—August is National Peach Month—it’s never been a better time to try other permutations. In savory dishes, they have a natural affinity with ginger, nuts, dairy, basil and citrus. Try peach salsas and relishes, or blend them with toasted almonds and buttermilk to make a cold soup. They’re also a great addition to a salad of heirloom tomatoes and fresh ricotta, or you can tuck peach slices into a country ham sandwich for a double-shot of the South. Halved and grilled, they’re a super summer side dish.
- “Freestone” and “cling” peaches refer to whether the flesh adheres to the pit.
- Both can have white or yellow flesh. The point at the end of most peaches is called the “beak.”
- Nectarines are the same species as peaches, just a fuzz-free cultivar.
- “Eat the plum, but give back a peach,” is a Vietnamese saying, which roughly means to return a favor.
- The scientific name, Prunus persica, means “Persian plum,” even though peaches originate from China.
Muscat, Riesling, Albariño, Viognier, warm-climate Chardonnay and South African Chenin Blanc all commonly exhibit peach character, but you don’t always want a peachy pairing, says Alexandria Brashears, sommelier at Atlanta’s Restaurant Eugene.
“Sparkling wine would be my go-to, in terms of texture and weight,” she says. “A blanc de noirs Champagne, like the one from Moutard Père et Fils, expresses opulence of fruit, while still maintaining a weighty texture.
“If harmonizing with the peach fruit profile, I’d lean towards an Albariño from Rias Baixas,” she says. “For a more contrasting flavor, I’d pair a rosé from Gigondas. The 2014 Domaine du Gour de Chaule rosé would be an excellent choice.”