Be a peach — and reach for a peach!

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One of my fondest food memories is of my dear uncle Giovanni and his love of peaches. We called him Coach because of his dark stature, love of football and the fact that he had six incredible sons to fight alongside. When we would visit, I would watch with interest how he ate this favorite stone fruit: he would take a peach, carefully peel and slice it, and then pour it into a glass of red, homemade wine. Will sink. He let the peaches sit for a while, closing his eyes in delight with each delicious mouthful, before scooping out each piece.

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Goblet Of Peaches With Red Wine And Flavored With Mint.  (Paolo Gagliardi/Getty Images)
Goblet of peaches with red wine and flavored with mint. (Paolo Gagliardi/Getty Images) Photo by Paolo Gagliardi /Getty Images

Every time I pick a peach I think of Uncle Giovanni. And we’re heading into peach season, a fruit so juicy and fragrant that you really can’t stop at just one.

Peaches are so refreshing and delicious, full of goodness and essential nutrients – a medium peach has just 27 calories and is a source of vitamin C.

Everywhere you turn, local peach baskets are popping up, and peach festivals are being planned. Canada is home to some of the best peaches around – Ontario’s Niagara region offers the bulk of the peaches during the season, about 80%, with British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley also offering plenty.

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According to Ontario Tender Fruit Growers, There are two types of peaches available this season: semi-freestone and freestone. But both are great for eating out of hand and storing all your essentials.

So – be a peach. And reach for a peach! And help celebrate the beauty of this country.

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Grilled Peach Breakfast Parfait  (Ontario Tender Fruit Growers)
Grilled Peach Breakfast Parfait (Ontario Tender Fruit Growers)

Grilled Peach Breakfast Parfait

Crunchy granola layered with honey, whipped yogurt and caramelized grilled peaches. Layer in a mason jar and take it to work or on a picnic. Recipe courtesy of Ontario Tender Fruit Growers. Serves 4.

1 tbsp. Butter, melted

1 tbsp. Brown sugar

4 firm peaches, pitted and quartered

1 1/2 cups plain, 2% Greek yogurt

1/4 cup honey

1 cup ginger (or favorite) granola

Mix melted butter and peaches in a medium bowl, toss in brown sugar. Heat the grill or BBQ to medium-high heat and place the peaches on it. Allow to cook for two minutes on each side, then remove from heat and allow to cool before cutting into cubes. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt and honey. To assemble, place peach cubes in the bottom of a small mason jar, add a layer of yogurt, followed by a layer of granola. Add peaches, yogurt and another layer of granola. Repeat until the jar is full and serve.

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Tip: Keep extra honey on hand for drizzling

Peach Mojitos.  (Ontario Tender Fruit Growers)
Peach Mojitos. (Ontario Tender Fruit Growers) Handout

Peach Mojitos

A riff on a classic summer cocktail. Serves 2. Recipe courtesy of Ontario Tender Fruit Growers.

1 lime

1 peach, peeled and chopped.

3 tbsp. thanks

1/4 cup peach juice

3 oz white rum

2 cups ice, crushed

10 mint leaves

1/4 cup carbonated soda

Peach slices, mint leaves, for garnish

Squeeze the juice from the lime in a blender. Add peach slices, sugar, juice and rum. Mix until smooth. Add crushed ice and pulse until combined. Lentils in mint leaves. Pour into two chilled glasses. Add a splash of soda to each drink and garnish with peach slices and mint leaves.

Peaches and cream tart with maple syrup glaze

This delicious recipe was created with stems and forks by Betty Bunn for Produce Made Simple (producemadesimple.ca).

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1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature

3 tbsp. + 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 beaten egg for pastry sheet egg wash.

3 medium ripe peaches

1 tbsp. Turbando sugar or brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp. Maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sit on one side.

Take the thawed puff pastry sheet and gently roll out on a lightly floured counter until the sheet is about 12-in-by-14 inches.

Score a 1-inch border around the edge of the puff pastry. Transfer to prepared pan.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, 3 tbsp. of powdered sugar and vanilla extract until the cheese is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

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With an offset spatula, spread the cream cheese over the puff pastry inside the scored border. Transfer to the fridge to chill for a few minutes.

Wash and dry the peaches. Halve them, remove pits and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Layer the peach slices on the puff pastry sheet in a design of your choice. Sprinkle the peaches with turbinado sugar and brush the egg wash over the scored edge. Sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the center of the puff pastry is golden brown. Check using a heatproof spatula and gently lift a corner to check for doneness.

While the tart is cooling (about 5 minutes), prepare the icing by mixing together the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the maple syrup. Drizzle the icing over the tart while it is still slightly warm. Alternatively, you can drizzle after the tart is completely cooled for a stiffer frosting.

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Roast Pork With Peaches And Leeks.  (Ontario Tender Fruit Growers)
Roast pork with peaches and leeks. (Ontario Tender Fruit Growers) provided

BBQ roasted pork with peach, leek and walnut filling

This aromatic roast combines the salty flavor of pork with the sweetness of peaches. Serves 6. Courtesy of Ontario Tender Fruit Growers.

3 pounds boneless pork

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

to fill

2 tbsp. butter

1 cup chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

2 cups peaches, pitted, diced.

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

2 tbsp. Pure maple syrup

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Chutney

2 cloves garlic, minced.

1/2 cup red wine

Cut the butterflied pork lengthwise roughly in half, leaving a 1-inch edge. Open like a book. Rub the olive oil over the pork. Cover with plastic wrap. With a smooth meat pounder or rolling pin, pound meat 1 inch thick. Sit on one side.

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In a skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add leeks and salt and pepper and cook until slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Add peaches; Cook for 2 minutes. Add the walnuts and stir in the maple syrup. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley. Let cool 10 minutes.

Place roast on greased grill, over medium heat. Roast outside, turning, until golden, about 20 minutes. Close the side of the grill that the roast is on while maintaining high heat on the other side to provide indirect heat. Close the grill cover and cook until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 160°F, about 45 minutes. Remove to a shallow dish and tent with foil. Let sit 25 minutes before cutting. (This step is important because the roast needs to continue cooking to reach the desired internal temperature.)

In skillet, add garlic, red wine, salt, and pepper over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Serve with pork.

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