Each year in late August I take receipt of two large crates of Palisade peaches — the highlight of my culinary year.
Palisade peaches are a type of peach that is grown in Palisade, Colorado (four hours drive from Boulder, where I live). Palisade is known for its ideal climate and soil conditions that are particularly suitable for growing high-quality peaches. Palisade peaches are renowned for their exceptional taste, sweetness, and juiciness. The region’s warm days and cool nights contribute to the development of sugars and flavors in the peaches, making them highly sought-after by peach enthusiasts.
Palisade peaches are typically in season during the late spring and summer months, with July and August being the prime months for enjoying these delectable fruits. People often visit Palisade during this time to participate in activities like peach-picking, tasting events, and festivals celebrating the peach harvest.
When I get my 2 boxes (containing roughly 80 medium-large peaches) I go peach mad. I eat them raw, of course, their juices dripping down my chin. I add them to salads (like this delicious peach Caprese salad), put them on pizza (with goat cheese, thyme and a smidge of honey – divine!), braise them alongside chicken or pork with fesh ginger, lemon juice and honey, and bake peach tarts, galettes and crumbles. And once I’ve had mi fill of all my favorite peach dishes, I stash the rest in my freezer as a juicy treat for the winter months.
In addition to being crazy-delicious, peaches offer a range of health potential health benefits:
- Rich in nutrients: Peaches are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium. These nutrients play important roles in immune function, vision health, blood clotting, and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- Dietary fiber: Peaches contain dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health. Fiber can help prevent constipation, promote regular bowel movements, and support a healthy gut microbiome.
- Antioxidants: Peaches contain various antioxidants, including vitamin C and various phytochemicals. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and certain cancers.
- Eye health: The vitamin A and beta-carotene in peaches support eye health. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining good vision and supporting the health of the retina.
- Skin health: The antioxidants and vitamin C in peaches contribute to healthy skin by promoting collagen production and protecting the skin from oxidative stress.
- Heart health: Potassium is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, and peaches are a good source of this mineral. Adequate potassium intake is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
- Cancer risk reduction: The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in peaches may have protective effects against certain types of cancer by neutralizing harmful free radicals and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
- Anti-Inflammatory properties: Some compounds found in peaches, such as quercetin, have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is linked to various chronic diseases, so including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet can be beneficial.
- Hydration: Peaches have a high water content, which can contribute to overall hydration and support various bodily functions.
This recipe is a simplified version of a peach crisp (or crumble, as it’s called in Britain). Instead of cutting the peaches into small pieces, I halve them, remove the stones, cover the cut surfaces with a super-simple crisp topping of pistachios, oats, brown sugar and whole wheat flour, place them in an oven-roof dish (sitting in a pool of orange & cherry juice with a pinch of corn starch to create a velvety sauce) and bake them for 25 minutes.
Delicious as dessert (served warm with sour cream or ice cream) or for breakfast (served cold with Greek yogurt). Keeps for several days in the fridge.
Baked Peaches with Pistachio Crisp Topping
- electric food processor to make the crisp topping
- ½ cup pistachios raw, unsalted, unsweetened
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats not the fast-cooking kind
- ½ cup whole wheat flour or your favorite gluten-free flour blend
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 6 tbsp cold butter cut into 1-tbsp pieces
- 4 medium-large peaches halved lengthwise, stone removed
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp tart cherry juice optional
- 1 tsp corn starch or portato starch
- 2 tsp powdered sugar
- 8-16 fresh mint leaves garnish
- Preheat the oven to 365℉.
- Combine pistachios, oats, flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse a few times until you obtain coarse crumbs. Set side.
- Stuff the peaches with the pistachio topping -- about 2 tbsp per half peach.
- Pour the orange juice (and cherry juice, if using) into an oven proof dish that fits eight peach halves. Add the corn starch and use a whisk to mix it into the fruit juice.
- Place the crumble-topped peach halves in tieh dish and slide into the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes; the peaches are ready when the topping is a light golden-brown and the fruits are fot (pierce with a paring knife, there should be little to no resistance).
- Dust with icing sugar, garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve immediately or enjoy the next day (cold or reheated in the microwave).