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Serving Up Summer with Maryland Peaches

The Secret to Killer Summer Dinner Parties?

It’s just one word: Dessert.

And when it comes to late July desserts in Maryland, you’ve got plenty of choices that honor the season’s best and follow the trend for local, local, local!

Think delicious Maryland-grown fruits – simple slices of cool, refreshing watermelon dressed with fresh local mint; sweet and tart blackberries and raspberries over Maryland ice cream; or – our personal favorite – anything that turns the spotlight on fresh juicy Maryland peaches.

Whether you decide to eat them from your hand over the kitchen sink with the juice running down your arm or broil them with berries, put them in a peach cobbler, spoon them over ice cream or heighten their flavor on the grill, Maryland peaches are versatile and delicious.

Peaches are what is known as “stone fruit,” because they have a large, hard pit or seed. There are multiple varieties of peaches – some more suited to Maryland’s climate than others – but peaches are also classified according to their relationship with their pits:

  • “Freestone” means the pit gives way cleanly from the peach flesh
  • “Clingstone” means the opposite – that the flesh and pit stick together
  • “Semi-freestone” – which is kinda right up the middle

If you can, choose a type of local peach to match your needs: Freestone peaches will look nicer when you grill them or simmer them in a Maryland wine. Clingstone are great for salsas or baking into cobbler, when it won’t matter if the flesh is torn when the seed is removed. And if you’re going to eat them over the sink, anything goes.

The distinctive peach flavor comes from their variety and degree of ripeness, not their color (you’ll find both yellow- and white-fleshed types). Choose heavy peaches with flesh that is slightly soft to the touch and has a sweet peachy aroma. Packed with major nutrients, including Vitamins A, C and potassium, a medium-sized peach contains just 38 calories and is an excellent source of fiber – as if you needed more to love?

Maryland peaches are available at farmer’s markets, farmstands, pick your own farms and grocery stores and at restaurants featuring local ingredients. You can also find them at local food festivals! Visit MarylandsBest.net to find local peaches.

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