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Local Ontario peaches are in season — enjoy them in this strata recipe

From now until the end of September, find local Ontario peaches at the grocery store. Eat them on their own, or enjoy them in sweet or savoury recipes. 

Everyone's favourite time of year is finally here again: peach season in Ontario. Whether you like yours on their own as an easy and nutritious snack or baked into a delicious dessert (like the strata recipe below), there's nothing like a fresh peach grown right here in Ontario. From now until the end of September, you can find local Ontario peaches at your nearest grocery store — just look for the Foodland Ontario logo.

Rather than buying produce that had to travel thousands of miles to get to you, choose Ontario peaches. Not only does local produce have a better taste, it's also better for the environment and supports our local farmers.

When you think of peaches, dreamy desserts may come to mind, but this versatile fruit is equally as delicious in savoury dishes and alongside salty snacks. (Prosciutto wrapped grilled peaches anyone?) They make a great addition to rich, meaty dishes like grilled pork tenderloin. You can even get creative and turn them into a sauce or salsa to top chicken wings or fish tacos. That combination of salty meat and sweet peaches is *chef's kiss*.

Then for dessert, dig into the delicious strata recipe below, made with Ontario peaches along with cherries and apricots. For something simpler, you can serve Ontario peaches over ice cream, or make them fancy in a crème brûlée. So many peach dishes to choose from, so little time until the end of peach season. We'd better head to the grocery store, like, now. 

Of course, you can alway eat peaches on their own. As we look to get back into healthy habits after a year of cocooning on the couch surrounded by takeout boxes, Ontario peaches make for a sweet treat that's delicious and healthy.

However you enjoy your fruit, choose local Ontario peaches.

Simple steps to peach perfection

1. Look for fruit that's firm and fragrant. Remember, the blush of a peach doesn't indicate ripeness — it tells you the variety.

2. Once you've purchased your peaches and brought them home, immediately remove the fruit from the container and sort them according to ripeness. You can tell a peach is ripe when it has a sweet aroma and yields to gentle pressure. Don't wash your fruit until you're ready to eat them.

3. Store ripe peaches in the fridge or enjoy them right away.

4. To ripen firm fruit, store them at room temperature and out of direct sunlight in a loosely closed paper bag (not plastic) for a day or two.

5. Once your peaches are ripe, store them in the fridge for up to one week or enjoy right away.

For inspiration, recipes, tips and more, head to producemadesimple.ca and follow @producemadesimple

Ontario peach, apricot and cherry strata

Serves 4

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ loaf of white bread, about 8–10 slices (you can even use stale bread)
  • 1 Ontario peach
  • ½–1 Ontario apricot
  • ¼ cup tart cherries, pitted (no juice)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1¾ cup milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Grease a 9-inch cake pan or similar sized pan, for instance a square pan. Set aside.
  2. Cut bread (including the crust) into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Wash and cut fruit into bite sized pieces, taking care to remove pits.
  4. Whisk eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Stir in cinnamon.
  5. Soak the bread in the mixture and pour into prepared pan.
  6. Evenly distribute the fruit and tuck into the mixture so that every mouthful will enjoy a bite of fruit.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge, overnight or for a minimum of one hour.
  8. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 F for approximately 40 minutes. The middle of the dish should look set.
  9. Enjoy warm or even cold with some fresh maple syrup. You can also top with more pitted Ontario cherries.
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