I really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree?

    Maybe it’s all that Steve Miller Band I’ve been listening to or maybe it’s the fact that I saw them yesterday in the produce department for the first time since summer, but I totally have peaches on the brain. In my opinion, peaches are the ultimate summertime fruit. There’s nothing like sinking your teeth into a ripe and juicy peach, that perfect balance of sweet flesh and tart juices. Let’s face it — peaches are one sexy fruit. And who knew they could be used in so many different recipes?

    A festive beverage for upcoming barbecues

    Homemade iced tea is a summer staple in my refrigerator, and my mom always finds new ways to jazz it up. My personal favorite is her interpretation of peach iced tea, which uses peach nectar instead of sugar as a sweetener. If you’re looking to put a new spin on a classic, why not try this version?

    What you need:
    • 2 quarts boiling water
    • 3 English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast tea bags
    • 2 Oolong tea bags
    • 1½-2 cups peach nectar (you can add more to taste, depending on how sweet you like your tea)
    • Ice (if you want to serve immediately; otherwise you can refrigerate until the tea cools and then serve, so as not to dilute the flavor)

    Bring the water to a boil and pour into a heat-proof pitcher. Add the five tea bags and steep for approximately 20 minutes. Stir in the peach nectar and let the tea cool. Add ice to a glass or the entire pitcher and pour yourself a drink, or place the whole pitcher in the refrigerator and wait until it is fully chilled. I promise you, this is way better (and healthier!) than Snapple!

    Adding a little kick to your peaches

    In the spirit of barbecuing, I figured I’d add another recipe to your grillin’ and chillin’ repertoire. Traditional barbecue chicken is pretty damn tasty, but this spicy peach adaptation takes it to the next level.

    What you need:
    • 2 cups peach jam
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons orange juice
    • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
    • 1 small jalapeno, very finely chopped

    Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and heat on low for about 10 minutes. Brush the sauce onto chicken while the meat is grilling or serve it as a dipping sauce alongside grilled chicken (or even meaty fish). Either way, this peach barbecue sauce is a total crowd pleaser, so make sure you have enough to satisfy all of your hungry guests.

    Step aside, strawberry shortcake

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never met a strawberry shortcake I didn’t like. But one made with peaches? And with added Southern flair? Yes, please! They’re simple, fun to make and even more delicious to eat. Here’s how:

    What you’ll need:
    • 3 peaches, peeled and sliced
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 4 biscuits, halved and toasted lightly
    • 1 cup whipped cream

    Sauté the sliced peaches with the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized pan over low heat, until the sugar melts and the peaches are warmed. This will probably take about five to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Toast the biscuits until they are lightly golden and top half of them with ¼ cup of whipped cream each. Divide the peach mixture evenly over the four whipped cream-topped biscuits. Cover each shortcake with a remaining biscuit and enjoy!


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