Grilled peaches II
Credit: Mike McCune (mccun934 on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Most peaches in Canada and the US are yellow-fleshed and at their peak from July to September.[1]

Early in the season, I look for the Harkin variety; late season, Canadian Harmony are my favourite.

Of course Redhaven and Red Globe peaches never disappoint. Glohaven are particularly good for people who don't like too much fuzz on their skin. (And I know some of you are like that).

Now, for those familiar with the TV series Seinfeld, there is an episode where Kramer mentions the "Mackinaw" peach. At the time it aired (1995), no such variety existed.

But, according to Oikos Tree Crops, now they do.

Makinaw peaches[2] are a small heirloom variety from Canada which are bright red, more heart-shaped and smaller than most peaches.

Kramer and The Mackinaw Peach

Actually, it looks more like a Red Globe:

How to Pick a Good One

Most varieties of peaches have the same characteristics when they are ripe. The key things to look for are:

1) The skin can be orange-red with some yellow in it (depending on the variety). Unripe peaches are green (so I shy away from those with green or a lot of yellow in their skin).

2) When pressed on, it should "give" - the ripest ones are a bit softer. Avoid mushy ones.

3) Check the skin for punctures, cuts, or bruises.

4) A good peach should smell, well, peachy. If you cannot detect a scent, it probably won't be flavourful.

A quick 22 second reminder

There's Cyanide in Peach Pits?

Now folks, I don't like to alarm anyone, but there is cyanide present in peach pits (and other fruit seeds). For this reason, I prefer to cut them using Jamie Oliver's method (shown in the next video).

According to Dr. Rodney Dietert from the Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology at Cornell University, "The occasional consumption of a seed or two is not a problem."[3]

However, Dr. Margaret Dietert, from Wells College, Aurora, N.Y. added, "A study of the toxicity levels of peaches and apricots clearly shows that 13 to 15 raw peach pit kernels would get you into the lethal range for adults."[3]

Of course children and young babies are even more susceptible, so I like to err on the side of caution. Use a spoon to scoop out the pit, don't dig into it with a knife.

How to Prepare Peaches for the BBQ

Jamie Oliver's Home Cooking Skills

Juicy Grilled BBQ or Oven Peaches

Makes: 6 halves | Prep: 5 mins | Total: 20 mins

Grilled PeachesCredit: Mike McCune (mccun934 on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericI adapted this recipe from Mike McCune's post of his Grilled Peaches,[4] a creative commons flickr photo.


3 peaches

3 tbsp. brown sugar (1 tbsp. per peach)

3/4 tsp. each of salt, cinnamon, and optional nutmeg (about a pinch per peach half)


Preheat grill to 550 - 600 F (288 - 315 C) or use broil/grill setting of your oven. In a small bowl, mix sugar and spices together and keep handy (with a tablespoon) near your grill or oven.

Wash peaches, pat dry, and cut in half. Carefully remove the pits with a spoon (as shown in previous video).

With tongs, carefully place peach halves flesh side down on grill (or use a broiler pan in the oven). Immediately, reduce grill or oven to low between 225 - 250 F (107 - 121 C). Allow them to cook for 2 - 3 minutes (if halves are small, check sooner).

Flip peach halves over (or carefully slide out broiler pan from oven) and sprinkle each with the sugar mix (about 2/3 tbsp. worth on each peach half). Note: If you don't have nutmeg, they still taste great.

Leave on grill (or return to oven) until juicy soft. The brown sugar will caramelize on top (takes about 8 to 12 minutes).

Credit: Rob Boudon on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Easy Peachy Cottage Cheese Salad

Serves: 4 - 5 | Prep: 5 mins | Total: 10 mins

Cottage cheese smooths the acidic flavours in some peaches and provides an excellent source of calcium and protein to salads. I felt this three ingredient recipe, provided with the photo and post by Rob Boudon,[5] was a definite keeper.
1 head of lettuce
2 - 3 peaches
1 cup (225 g or 8 oz) cottage cheese
Wash and spin lettuce and set aside to dry. Wash peaches and slice or cube into bite-sized pieces. 
Tear or chop lettuce and portion onto plates. Sprinkle peach slices or cubes over each bed of lettuce and add 3 - 4 tbsp. of cottage cheese to each and serve.

Easiest Way to Peel Peaches

This method is great for my drink recipe next

Rose's Canadian Peach Nectar

Makes: 40 oz. | Prep: 15 mins | Total: 25 mins

I was inspired by two recipes[6][7] when I created this one. One method only used peaches and water; the other added some lemon juice and sugar. I decided to try it with lemon juice (which helps retain the peachy color) and maple syrup in place of sugar. 
Canadian-style Shirley TempleCredit: Ryan Forsythe on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution -ShareAlike 2.0 GenericIngredients:
6 peaches
2.5 cups cold filtered water
1/3 cup maple syrup (Grade A preferably)
1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
Optional: vodka or rum
In a large dutch oven or pot, boil water and carefully place peaches in water for about a minute or two to loosen their skin (as shown in above video).
Remove peaches with tongs and test skin to see if loose enough. (I wouldn't use my fingers on them right away like the tough lady in the video did - yikes).
Once peach skins are loose enough, remove peaches from water and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Slice peaches in half and remove the pit with a spoon. Then remove skins quickly and easily with a paring knife and slice up all the peaches.
In a blender, add 2.5 cups of cold filtered water, maple syrup, and lemon juice and mix. Add peach slices, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth. Pour into a pitcher or into glasses and enjoy.
NOTE: For adults, you could add in a shot of vodka or rum per drink for a lovely summer night's cocktail.

OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs

OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs RoseWrites 2014-06-20 4.5 0 5

For Handling Hot Peaches

Be sure you have decent tongs

OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs
Amazon Price: $14.99 $12.82 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 15, 2015)
These locking tongs are also available in 12-inch and 9-inch sizes, but I find it's much safer (especially for the BBQ) to have the long ones. If they are too long (20-inches), you lose some maneuverability though. I'm loyal to the OXO Good Grips line for the sake of comfort. Tools that aren't comfortable my hands, just aren't as safe. Plus, these tongs are reasonably priced (not like those crazy ass expensive ones) and these are dishwasher-safe.