Coloradans don’t need a national designation to know that August is the month for peaches in our state. But since it’s National Peach Month, there’s no better time to sing the praises of Palisade’s luscious gift to fruit lovers. Not surprisingly, state officials and peach fans have pushed since 2014 to crown the Western Slope’s juicy orbs the official state fruit. Regardless of whether they are ever handed that title, now is the time to get them, while they are fresh and plentiful.

When you do get your bushel or two, it could be tough to eat them all before they get too soft. Save some for a sweet summer reminder later by freezing them. It’s easy to do. Pull out a shallow rimmed sheet pan, and fill it with a single layer of firm, unpeeled or cut peaches. Put the pan in the freezer, and after they’re frozen, place them in resealable freezer bags, label them, and return them to the freezer. They will keep for a year.

When you’re ready to eat a peach, microwave it on High for 1 to 1½ minutes to slightly defrost. The fuzzy skin will easily slip off, and the fruit will be ready to slice and enjoy. Easy-peesy.

Here are three more ways to get the most out of Colorado’s prized peaches before they are gone.

Bellini Cocktail

Yield: 1 serving

1 tablespoon peach puree or peach nectar

Chilled champagne or other white sparkling wine

Procedure: Spoon peach puree into a chilled glass. Top with champagne and serve. Source: Adapted from thespruceeats.com

Peach Salsa

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 pound tomatoes, diced

1 bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 1/2 pounds peaches, diced

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Procedure: Chop tomatoes and transfer them to a large bowl. Finely chop seeded bell pepper and jalapeños. Finely chop onion and transfer all your veggies to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add diced peaches, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix gently until ingredients are well combined. Source: NatashasKitchen.com

Peach and Prosciutto Bruschetta

Yield: 4 servings

1 loaf of rustic bread, such as ciabatta

2 peaches, sliced

1/4 to 1/2 cup Haystack Mountain goat cheese

4 thin slices of prosciutto

Procedure: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice bread and toast until lightly browned. Spread each slice with creamy cheese. Top each bruschetta with a slice of fresh peach. Tear the prosciutto into pieces and lay a few strips on each bruschetta and serve. Source: Adapted from williams-sonoma.com

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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