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5 Creative Ways to Add Peaches to Your Summer Party Menu

5 Creative Ways to Add Peaches to Your Summer Party Menu

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Bring this versatile summer fruit to your party

Enhance your salsa with peaches!

Oh, the peach — juicy, sweet, and practically a delicious symbol of summer. Yet this adored and succulent fruit is more versatile than you may think. The next time you stroll through the farmers' market (or produce aisle) past the ripe peaches, don’t limit its potential by using it only as a midday snack to munch on. Instead, see it as a perfect sauce-flavoring component, a sweet salsa add-in, or a cocktail flavor burst.

Here are five different ways to add some peachy sweetness into your party menu, sure to please the palates of you and your guests to summer’s end.

1. Barbecue Sauce: Sorry ketchup and Worcestershire, BBQ sauce has another component — peaches. Try our amazing Peach Love BBQ Sauce Recipe.

2. Sweet Cocktail: Enhance your summer drink with peaches, such as with our White Peach Sangria Recipe.

3. A Spin on Salsa: You may never go back to basic salsa after you try this recipe of Grilled Honey Pork Chops with Peach Salsa.

4. Goodbye Strawberry Shortcake: Take a break from basic desserts and try this insanely delicious Kentucky Bourbon Peach Shortcake Recipe.

5. Perfect Appetizer Popper: Whet your guests' appetites as they arrive with these Grilled Peaches with Mint and Goat Cheese. It's a perfect light starter for your party.

How to Can Peaches for Year-Round Use

As summer comes to a close and the weather begins to cool down, you&aposve got two options for those fresh summer peaches: Freeze &aposem or can &aposem. Freezing is ideal for recipes that call for fresh, uncooked peaches. Take this Juicy Peach Crisp for example. 

Canned peaches on the other hand are great for any recipe that calls for cooked peaches. It&aposs a shortcut to many recipes including Peach Kuchen, Peach Bread, or this Peach Banana Smoothie recipe. 

New to canning? Don&apost worry, we&aposll take it step-by-step in this simple guide to canning peaches at home. And you do not have to have a special water-bath canner (although it doesn&apost hurt)  to can peaches at home. This method is as simple as it gets. Peach season just got a whole lot longer! 

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Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Get a healthy dose of calcium with this creamy ice cream. This recipe&rsquos made with fat-free milk to keep fat in check, and chunks of fresh peaches give it added antioxidants. If you don&rsquot have almond extract on hand, a half teaspoon of vanilla extract works just as well. A single half-cup serving boasts only 58 calories, making it a homemade treat you&rsquoll want to make again and again.

Ingredients: Evaporated fat-free milk, fat-free milk, calorie-free sweetener, egg substitute, almond extract, peaches

52 Easy Cocktail Recipes to Impress Your Party Guests

Your guide to delicious cocktails, shaken, stirred, or frozen.

Regardless of the occasion, serving a delicious cocktail to your party guests is a must. If you're hosting a summer barbecue or you're just having friends over for a game night, treating everyone to a signature mixed drink will get them in a celebratory mood. We've rounded up some creative drink ideas that are easy to make, so at-home bartenders of any skill level can tackle them.

A big bowl of punch or a pitcher of sangria will always be a hit, which is why we've made sure to include several of these recipes. If you're looking for seasonal cocktails for a crowd, try the winter sangria, which has a great tart cranberry flavor. Or, if you're in need of refreshing sips for a summertime bash, there are frozen drinks like boozy fruit slushies that will cool you off in no time. Opting for a watermelon drink, like Ree Drummond's watermelon sangria, is also a great choice.

Anyone who's looking to brush up on bar skills will find instructions for classic cocktails too, including margaritas, Palomas, Moscow mules, whiskey sours, and more. You'll be saying "Bottoms up!" once you finish this list of the best cocktail recipes.

16 Ideas For Amazing Fruit Salads

SO MUCH FRUIT. Sometimes too much to actually eat it all before it starts to get icky — which is why fruit salads are such a great idea. You can redeem on-the-edge produce with just a little TLC so that it becomes a whole new magical concoction.

But the term "fruit salad" has long been abused by those who believe that tasteless honeydew + unripe cantaloupe + rock hard grapes = something worth eating. It's high time to reclaim this territory with interesting, beautiful, luscious, non-boring combinations of fruits.

Here are some ideas to help you keep things fresh:

15 Fantastic Peach Pairings to Try

  1. Tea (green, black, surprise me!)
    Tea is one of the most versatile things this planet has graced us with. The technicalities of tea are too much for one paragraph, but the flexibility of its flavor is not something we can argue about.
    When you add tea to some sort of peach fusion, lives are changed forever. We’re all familiar with the classic peach tea,where peaches shine like a star without any artificial flavoring business. So this summer, mix it up by trying green tea next time around. It will make the intense summer heat seem much more manageable.
  2. Cocktails and Spirits
    Okay mom and dad, we know this is the part you were waiting for. With peaches, your drink list should never get boring. Why? Add peach to almost any alcoholic beverage, and you’ve got yourself a party in the works.
    Our favorite is the Peach Fizz Cocktail , with added fresh peaches of course. It’s definitely a mouthful, but once you get a grasp of your preferred amounts of each component, you’ll never be able to put it down. Be careful, though, and remember to drink responsibly.
  3. A Craving for Crust
    Ask just about anyone, and they’ll bring up a peach cobbler or pie when discussing their favorite peach foods. Homegrown staff included. There’s something special about the mixture of flaky crust, cinnamon, and fresh peaches baked to perfection. The only thing we might disagree on is whether the fruit filling or the crust is the best part.
  4. Cinnamon
    Some matches are truly made in heaven, and peaches with cinnamon—in any fashion—are one of them. The possibilities are limitless, and a quick search on Pinterest will be enough to inspire you to stock up on enough cinnamon to last the rest of the year.
  5. Other In-Season Fruit
    Pairing fresh peaches with other in-season fruit can truly be an original treat. Personal taste plays a huge part here, and each person tends to envision their own perfect mixture of fresh fruit.
    Some delicious combinations include other stone fruit like plums and nectarines or go completely wild with bananas and pineapple.
  6. Kid-Friendly Drinks
    Kids tend to go crazy for smoothies and milkshakes, both of which are summer appropriate and little-one approved. There are classic peach smoothie options as well as peaches and cream milkshakes for the more sophisticated taste buds.
  7. Popsicle Molds & Sticks
    While we know popsicle sticks and molds aren’t technically pairings or ingredients, they are a definite essential part of making your own summer treats.
    Your taste buds will soar when you try our Peach Frozen Yogurt Popsicles —they’re sure to become a household favorite.
  8. Salads Galore
    Salads aren’t just for dieting, they make an excellent side dish for dinner and can be extremely satisfying for lunch. Mix it up with different cuisine styles that pair well with your main dish or your mood. Either way, you’ll be enjoying yourself.
  9. Oats
    It’s always shocking to survey a room and see the majority haven’t tried peaches in their oatmeal and other breakfast cereals.
    The many variations and ease of preparation will have you coming back to this option all year round, and your kids are sure to love it.
  10. Avocado & Guacamole
    Adding peaches to guacamole may sound like a reach, but you aren’t living until you’ve given it a try. The unique combination is perfect for summer barbecues and cookouts, and even better for pool parties.
    In our experience, it is the perfect stepping stone to get our pickier kids to try guacamole for the first time.
  11. Something Creamy
    Add fresh peaches to your yogurt or bowl of ice cream and watch your perspective on these treats improve tremendously, even if you’re already an avid fan.
    Boost the fruit flavor when making your own ice cream by incorporating just a splash of your favorite fruit juice. The refreshingly cold mixture of peach chunks and ice cream made with juice is a sure way to avoid overheating this summer.
  12. Coconut
    Combine some dried coconut slices for tropical granola bars or top off your yogurt. This combination is delicious whether the coconut is dried, fresh, or in water form.
    The sky’s the limit in regards to coconut. Make drinks, lunches, snacks, and desserts with ease based on how creative you feel.
  13. Nuts (pecans, almonds)
    Peaches can be dried and used for a homemade trail mix for a unique punch(we all know trail mix is better when it only contains the things we like anyway).
    Don’t limit your peach and nut experience, though. Fresh peaches pair well with your favorite nuts for a protein boost throughout the day. The mixture of salty and sweet is sure to leave you coming back for more as well.
  14. The Grill
    If there’s only one peach pairing from this list that you try, it’s grilled peaches. I know the grill falls into the same category as popsicle sticks and molds since it isn’t an actual ingredient, but the experience is something we wouldn’t recommend anyone misses.
  15. Pork
    Adding a little bit of sweetness to your meal can really spice things up when you’re tired of the same traditional seasonings. Peaches pair so well with pork that we would gladly eat it multiple times per month…who am I kidding, as long as peaches are in season I’ll be craving this.

What other ways do you enjoy peaches? Leave a comment with your favorite pairings. We love discovering fresh, new ideas!

50 Easy BBQ Side Dishes to Make This Summer

Every great cookout needs a spectacular spread of barbecue sides to go with it.

Juicy burgers and hot dogs may get top billing, but this spread of BBQ side dishes will surely steal the show. Each one of these salads, dips, or slaws is made with fresh summer produce or is grilled to perfection. From easy side dishes that'll appeal to the adults to some kid-friendly sides that will make even the pickiest eaters happy, we've gathered our favorites that pair perfectly with any protein you like.

Looking for an easy pasta salad? Try out the fresh and flavorful zucchini orzo salad that makes the most of this star summer crop. How about a fresh veggie dish? Our Smashed Sesame Cucumber Salad is so tasty! And for the beauty-factory? The Melon Mosaic recipe can't be missed. Now all that's left is to plan a decadent dessert.

20 of Our Best and Brightest Summer Appetizers

Celebrate the arrival of warm weather, longer days, and vacation time with these summer appetizer recipes. They're easy to make, full of fresh flavor, and are perfect for open-air dining. Take a peek at your local farmers' market to see what seasonal produce looks best. You'll probably find bright green zucchini, plump tomatoes, sweet and firm peaches, berries galore, and big ears of corn on the cob. Make good use of all those in-season fruits and vegetables and make these bright, tasty summertime appetizers.

Perhaps one of the most stunning summer appetizer recipes is Tomatoes with Lightly Whipped Cream, pictured here. All you need are high-quality heirloom tomatoes, fruity olive oil, flaky salt, fresh basil, and heavy cream. The tomatoes feature a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream as a garnish&mdashit's one of the simples yet most delicious summer bites you could put together.

Another one of our favorite ways to highlight fresh produce is with tartines. These open-faced sandwiches use thick slices of rustic bread as a bed for seasonal ingredients to be stacked upon. Our bright green Zucchini, Avocado, and Jalapeño Tartine combines crisp and creamy textures with mild and spicy flavors, and it's ready in just 25 minutes. Another option is our sweet riff on a Caprese salad. Instead of the usual tomato-mozzarella-basil combination, we piled tomatoes, peaches, buffalo mozzarella, and bresaola atop ciabatta bread.

No-Knead Tomato Focaccia showcases juicy tomatoes on top of the crowd-friendly bread. It's the perfect summer recipe to make over the course of a couple of busy days because it only requires 15 minutes of prep work, but it needs at least 12 hours to rise. Once the process is complete, the salted, savory dish is simply delicious. Enjoy this collection of summer appetizer recipes that you can make all season long.

Use up this produce: Kale, spinach, chard, garlic, peppers, onions, carrots, celery, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash

Boost the vitamin and fiber content of any soup, stew, or pasta sauce by wilting in sturdy leafy greens or starting the recipe with a fragrant mix of minced garlic, onions, peppers, carrots, and/or celery. We’re wild about Ratatouille-Style Pasta Sauce and Mediterranean Kale and Cannellini Stew with Farro. Wondering how to use up leftover vegetables like mashed butternut squash? Stir in a scoop near the end of cooking time to thicken the texture.

The 14 All-Time Best Backyard Party Ideas

What you never see on Pinterest: the tired and possibly broke woman who threw that elaborate soiree for 50. Do it the laid-back way and you won't even break a sweat (until you start dancing, that is).

What you never see on Pinterest: the tired and possibly broke woman who threw that elaborate soiree for 50. Do it the laid-back way and you won't even break a sweat (until you start dancing, that is).

Don't forget to pin these ideas for your next back yard bash!

Is an outdoor bash really an outdoor bash without s'mores? Find some marshmallow sticks and place them in a cute display. And if you really want to save yourself some time, set up a s'mores bar complete with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. Since things get sticky, don't forget to have some hand wipes nearby, too.

Why not throw a picnic-style party? What looks like a fancy set-up will only take you minutes to put together. Use some crates as a table and set out a blanket and some pillows and everyone will be nice and cozy while they eat their dinner.

One of the easiest ways you can make your backyard party look better than ever is to buy some string lights and wrap them around your trees. It won't take long to set everything up, and they'll be shining all night long.

Take a roll of brown kraft paper and run it the length of your table: Not only does it have a rustic-chic appeal, it's also cheap and can go straight into the recycling bin when you're done. If you've got time (or want to keep the kids out of your hair with a craft project), "paint on it," suggests style expert Robert Verdi. "Do something simple like polka dots or go all out and trace the place settings. You can even write out guests' names or initials in lieu of place cards. But don't worry about being perfect &mdash it's supposed to look handmade."

Steal from the garden. Huge floral arrangements can look luxe, but you'll get the same bang for zero bucks by using greens clipped from your backyard. "I hosted a small dinner party and didn't have a lot of time or money to spend," says Becca Gorski, an event planner and the blogger behind Cake Events & Design. "So I cut a few branches from each of the different trees in our yard and laid them down the middle of my table as a centerpiece."

To create the easiest bunting in the world, simply fold bandanas in half diagonally, connect them by knotting the corners together, and hang. Have fun mixing and matching colors and prints there are tons of styles available online for about $1 a pop &mdash we found cute ones at (After the party's over, give them to the kids for their cowboy and stagecoach-robber costumes.)

Chop up vibrant veggies and put them in a tight grouping of pretty jars, bowls, or glass vases of varying sizes and heights. They'll look so lovely and bring the healthy.

There's nothing kiddie-party about helium balloons if they light up the night. Buy mini LEDs from party-supply stores like &mdash they cost less than a buck each and last about eight hours &mdash and pop one in the bottom of each balloon when you blow it up. Group a few together to maximize the starlit effect.

Add a pop of pattern to your table by spreading a strip of wrapping paper down the center like a runner. "It's super-easy and you won't care if your guests spill on it," points out New York City-based wedding planner Sarah Pease.

Plant some great decor. Buy a flat of annuals from your hardware store, use fabric or thick ribbon to cover up the plastic edge of the container, and plop it right down on the table. What we love about this trick is that nothing goes to waste: After the party, you can plant them in your garden.

Batch his cocktails in advance, so you can enjoy the party.

Watermelon refresher. Prep time: 5 minutes. In a blender, combine 6 cups peeled seedless watermelon (about 4½ lb, or 1 small melon), ? cup lime juice, ¼ cup mint leaves, and 1 Tbsp sugar puree until mixture is smooth and only flecks of mint remain. Add ? cup white rum, stir to combine, and cover and refrigerate until cold. Serve with ice. (The watermelon mixture &mdash before you add the rum &mdash can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Refrigerate until serving.) Makes 6 cocktails.

Summer's sangria. Prep time: 10 minutes, plus at least 2 hours chilling time. Combine 1 (750-ml) bottle sauvignon blanc or another dry white wine, ¼ cup St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and 1 Tbsp sugar stir to dissolve sugar. Add 1 ripe plum (cut into thin wedges), 1 peach (scrubbed to remove fuzz and cut into thin wedges), ½ lb strawberries (hulled and halved), 6 oz raspberries, 2 (3-inch) strips lemon zest, and 2 Tbsp lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Serve over ice. Makes 6 cocktails.

Tipsy tee. Prep time: 10 minutes. Combine 3 cups lemonade, 1 cup bourbon, 1 small lemon (thinly sliced), and 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger (peeled and thinly sliced, about ½ cup). Stir well to blend flavors. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add to a dispenser and top with 2 (12-oz) bottles chilled ginger ale. Makes 6 cocktails.

Rock the buffet table. Grab some flat stones from your yard (or get the nice ones at a garden supply store), give them a quick cleaning, and write a menu item on each with a white paint pen. You can also use them as place cards or napkin weights on a breezy day.

These Peach Recipes Are the Essence of Summer

Sure, a ripe peach tastes great on its own, but paired with sweet or savory ingredients, they are absolutely mouthwatering. Start by selecting the best peach, then choose a stellar recipe to transform it into something otherworldly. For advice on how to do just that, read on&mdashwe have you covered on both front.

Peaches are a type of stone fruit and reach peak ripeness in July and August. You may find them available earlier in the summer and sometimes even in the off season, when they most likely come from South America. When you are shopping for peaches at the farm stand or grocery store, look for fruits that have a fragrant aroma and a flesh that yields a bit when pressed gently. If the peach has cuts, dark spots, or it's either rock-hard or mushy, don't buy it. A green tinge indicates that the fruit is underripe.

Peaches can be white or yellow, and it's worth tasting different varieties to see which you prefer and to think about which color is a better fit for the dish you're making. A good example of when the color of your fruit really matters is our ombré-hued peach salad, which puts both white and yellow peaches on full display.

Depending on the type of peach, it is classified as either a clingstone or freestone. Wondering which one you have? Check how easy it is to dislodge the pit from the flesh. Most often you'll find you have a freestone, where the pit and fruit separate with ease.

Now onto recipes: A rip, juicy peach is a much more versatile ingredient than you might think. Peaches star in recipes to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The fruit is the perfect sweet sidekick to a number of proteins, so try making pickled peaches with crisp-fried chicken cutlets or transform them into a spicy salsa to be spooned over steak. Peaches work in sweet and vegetable-based salads. And, of course, they're guaranteed to impress in cobblers, pies, tarts, sorbets, and just about any fruit-forward dessert.

Beyond perfect pairings, we also included recipes that are great for summer events. Try bringing a giant slab pie or peach pie crumble bars to your next BBQ, pool party, or potluck&mdashboth are so tasty and beautiful, you're sure to be heading home with an empty dish. Cool down with peach and guava popsicles or a vodka-spiked adult beverage made from blended peaches and mint. And don't miss out on a Grilled Peach Old Fashioned&mdashit's the perfect cocktail for a hot summer evening.