The bounty of summer offers so many cooking delights it is hard to squeeze them all in. One of the best is fresh homegrown peaches, with their sloppy juiciness and indescribably sweet flavor. They show up in fresh peach pie, peach and blueberry pie, peach cobbler, peach crisp, peach pancakes, peach smoothies, peach butter, peach-raspberry preserves and homemade peach ice cream. They turn your breakfast cereal into a feast, make a simple dessert when they are sliced and sugared, and provide a healthy snack when eaten in all their raw messiness.
In many of the ways fresh peaches are eaten, they are combined with vanilla ice cream, with the ice cream being the topping. Turn that around and make a fresh peach topping for vanilla ice cream and you'll have an interesting dessert worthy of a celebration.
This super easy ice cream topping recipe takes a bit of time in the fridge for the sweet, fresh peaches to give up their delicious juices, but your patience will be rewarded with a rare treat.
- Combine the peaches, both sugars, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix until the sugars are dissolved.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Mix and serve over vanilla ice cream.
How to Choose the Best Peaches
Always buy homegrown peaches. They are picked when they're ripe, not green, and that makes a big difference in taste. Farmer's markets or locally sourced produce at your grocery are your best bets.
The peach should smell wonderful and be creamy gold or yellow; some will have a characteristic blush, depending on variety. Check for firmness; the peach softens up as it ripens. How firm you want the peaches to be when you buy them depends on when you plan to use them. A good idea is to buy them in several levels of firmness so they can be eaten over a period of time. The more ripe a peach is, the sweeter and juicier it is. But don't buy a peach if it is at all mushy.
How to Store Peaches
The best way to keep peaches is on the kitchen counter for a just a few days before you use them at the peak of ripeness. You can refrigerate them for up to a week after they are ripe, but they might lose some flavor. If they get mushy and wrinkled, they are past their use-by date.