A peach-blueberry tart is fast and easy to make. (iStockphoto by Getty Images)

If you are lucky enough to come into some Palisade peaches, or peaches imported from another state, there are things you need to know:

  •  Ripening: In season, buy peaches when they’re firm but not hard, free of soft spots or wrinkling. They ripen well, especially in brown paper bags (remember those?) and always at room temperature. When ripe, they may be kept refrigerated for a few days. The key to max enjoyment is just to ripen before refrigerating.
  • Some peaches are “freestone,” in which the pit parts easily from its surrounding flesh; some are “clingstone,” in which it does not.
  •  Storing: Keep peaches in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator, uncovered, unwrapped, unwashed. I’ve learned that it is best to wash them right before they’re to be enjoyed, rather than before ripening. I generally eat the skins wherein lies a lot of flavor, scent, and nutrients.
  • Pitting: Slice along the fruit’s “seam,” in a full circle, around the stone; then separate the two halves by twisting them in opposite directions. With the tip of a paring knife, pick out the pit at its pointy end.

And after you’ve eaten your fill of the delicious fruits, should you have an excess, you can freeze or can them, or try one (or all) of these recipes. ‘Tis the season.

RELATED: In Colorado’s peach country, the season that wasn’t

Super-fast Peach-Blueberry Tart

Makes 6 servings

From Bill St. John.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sliced peaches
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • Whipped cream (for serving)

Directions

Mix the peaches, blueberries, sugar, arrowroot or cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Unroll a refrigerated pie crust (half a 15-ounce package) onto a baking sheet. Pile fruit on crust, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Brush border with 2 tablespoons cream. Fold edges over the frui,t making a rustic-looking edge with fruit showing in the center. Brush edge with more cream; sprinkle tart with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees until crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly; serve with whipped cream.

Peach and Basil Salad

Serves 4

Originally published in The Denver Post in August 2018.

Ingredients

  • 6 peaches (Palisade preferred)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 large basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta or plain goat cheese

Directions

Slice the peaches and toss with the tomatoes, lemon juice, honey, red onion and salt. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and add to the salad. Top with crumbled cheese.

Grilled Peaches with Whipped Ricotta Fig Toast

Grilled Peaches with Whipped Ricotta Fig Toast, from “Centennial Celebrations.” (Provided by the Junior League of Denver)

Serves 16

From the Junior League of Denver‘s newest cookbook, “Centennial Celebrations.”

Ingredients

  • 4 medium peaches, pitted and cut into halves
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fig spread
  • 16 slices French bread, toasted
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions

Preheat the grill to medium. Drizzle the peach halves with the honey. Arrange cut sides down onthe grill. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes or until grill marks appear. Remove to a cutting board. Cut into slices.

Combine the ricotta cheese and fig spread in a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. Spread equal portions of the cheese mixture over each toast and top with a peach slice. Sprinkle with the sea salt and mint. Drizzle with additional honey if desired.

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

Grilled Peaches with Whipped Ricotta Fig Toast, from “Centennial Celebrations” (jdl.org). (Provided by the Junior League of Denver)

Makes 24

From the Junior League of Denver‘s newest cookbook, “Centennial Celebrations.”

  • Ingredients
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 2 1/4 cups chopped fresh or thawed frozen peaches
  • Brown Sugar Frosting (recipe below)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift 3 cups of the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl. Beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl for at least 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape the side of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating constantly for at least 2 minutes, and scraping the side of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture.

Pat the peaches dry with a paper towel. Toss the peaches with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour and fold into the batter. Fill the prepared muffin cups two-thirds full with the batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the centers comes out clean. Let stand to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. May be frozen for up to 1 week before frosting. Spread with the Brown Sugar Frosting. Garnish with small peach slices and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Brown Sugar Frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the bowl as needed. Beat at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl frequently.

Palisade Peaches and Cream 

Makes: 1 quart, 6 generous portions

From the Junior League of Denver‘s “Colorado Classique.”

Ingredients

  • 3 cups peeled chopped peaches
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 21⁄4 cups heavy cream
  • 3⁄4 cup milk
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Combine peaches, 1⁄2 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Drain juice from
peaches and set juice aside. Return peaches to the refrigerator.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until fluffy. Slowly add 3⁄4 cup sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add cream, milk, reserved peach juice, and vanilla. Heat mixture on stove to 165
degrees, being careful not to boil. Refrigerate mixture overnight. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to the owner’s manual. As ice cream stiffens, add peaches. Complete cycle.

Transfer ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze until ready to serve.

Best with the ripest summer Palisades peaches harvested in August.

Fresh Peach Crisp 

Serves: 8-10 portions

From the Junior League of Denver‘s “Colorado Classique.”

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds ripe peaches, peeled
    and sliced
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup oats
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
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Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peach slices in a greased 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with salt. Mix together flour, cinnamon, sugar, and oats. Add butter and mix with hands until crumbly. Sprinkle over peaches and pat down. Bake 50 to 60 minutes. Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream.

When peeling peaches, place whole peaches in boiling water for a few seconds to loosen skins.

When peaches are not in season, substitute Granny Smith apples as a nice alternative.

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