By Peggy Crum, RD, Health4U Nutritionist

Peach season reaches its peak in mid-summer with Michigan’s premier peach, Peachesthe Red Haven, arriving in early August. These pointers should prevent some potential pitfalls when picking and preparing peaches:

  • Purchase from the producer. Supermarkets have lovely displays but don’t be deceived by their peaches’ enticing color. Red blushing appears on peach skin where it has been sun-kissed and does not mean it is ripe. Tree-ripened peaches have a creamy undertone besides the reddish patches. But the pinnacle of perfection is a peachy perfume.

  • Refrigerating peaches before fully ripe results in a mealy texture that will not improve no matter what you do. Keep peaches at room temperature until they begin to soften along the suture line that runs from stem end to blossom end. Once ripe, peaches will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

  • The peach pit is easiest to manage if you know whether the variety is cling or freestone. Cut freestones in half along the suture line using a paring knife. A gentle twist will separate the halves and the pit will pop out easily. Peel the firmer fleshed clings whole and then cut slices away from the pit.

  • If peach fuzz causes you to cringe, nectarines with their smooth, shiny skin may be just the peach for you. Removing the fuzzy peach’s skin is another option. Begin by using a paring knife to score a small x on the bottom of each peach. Then gently place them in a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Next, plunge them into a bowl of ice water. No matter your preference for or against fuzz, follow this method if you plan to cook your peaches since peach peel becomes tough when cooked.

This month’s recipe features the classic combination – peaches and berries – in a pizza pie. Enjoy the taste of summer!

Click here to view Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski's recipe for Peach and Blackberry Dessert Pizza. Join Chef Kurt from 12:10 - 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, at the Demonstration Kitchen in Brody Square as he demonstrates the recipe during the Health4U Recipe for Health program. Or try it for lunch on July 24 at The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall and Brody Square.