And oh-so-delicious.
peach basket
Credit: Keith Seaman-Camerad Inc/Getty Images

It has been a good season for peaches and, even though the days are beginning to shorten and our thoughts are turning to football games and tailgate menus filled with hot soups and apple cakes, there are still some juicy sweet peaches remaining at the farm stands yet to be enjoyed. What is even better is that there are so many ways to enjoy this summer jewel besides the traditional desserts. Peaches are delicious paired with tomatoes and red onions in a tossed green salad, or sliced, grilled, and partnered with pancetta, basil, and cheese on a homemade pizza. Or how about dicing a peach and stirring it into a salsa, along with peppers and cilantro? In my search for a different way to enjoy peaches, I came across this recipe from the May, 2011 issue of Southern Living. A dish of rice steeped in sweet tea, mixed with summer peaches, pecans and jalapeño helps solidify the concept that peaches aren't just for cobblers and pies.

This salad is excellent and makes a satisfying side dish as written, but you can also turn it into a main dish by adding grilled chicken or shrimp. Customize it even further by stirring in black beans, caramelized onions, or late summer tomatoes.

Sweet Tea Rice with Jalapeno, Peaches, and Pecans

Makes: 6 servings
Active Time: 5 min.
Total Time: 25 min.

2 cups sweetened tea
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 large fresh peach, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Make homemade sweet tea so you can adjust the sweetness level to suit your personal preference or (gasp!) use store-bought sweet tea.

1. Bring tea to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; stir in rice and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until tea is absorbed and rice is tender.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add pecans, and cook, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Add jalapeño, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in hot cooked rice, diced fresh peach, chives, 1/4 tsp. salt, and pepper.

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Here is a quick and easy recipe for Southern Sweet Tea: Add 2 family-sized tea bags to 3 cups of boiling water. Boil 1 minute, remove from heat, cover and let steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir in 3/4 cups of sugar. Pour into a large container, add 7 cups cold water, and serve over ice.