How To Grow Peaches For the Peach Melba Recipe

Photo credit: Rasmus Lerdorf

If you love peaches and have ever thought about growing a tree of your own, now is the time. Bare root peach trees can be planted in early spring, as soon as the ground is workable, and will begin producing fruit within a year or two. They are hearty trees in warm climate areas, preferring the sunniest, warmest spot in the yard, and require little care other than occasional pruning once established. You can get started on our Peach Melba recipe by planting your own peach tree in your home garden. Not only will it produce delicious fruit for your family, it will provide a beautiful vision in spring with lovely, fragrant blossoms. We’ve added a Peach Melba recipe, too, but you might want to go ahead and buy some peaches for that one.

Planting a peach tree

Choose a spot in your garden that receives a full day’s sun. Peach trees like it hot, so a south-facing area is ideal. Make sure there are no buildings or larger trees that will shade the tree during daylight hours.

Dig a hole twice as wide as the root system on the tree so the roots can spread out and gently place the tree in the hole. If your tree has been grafted onto another tree’s root system, make sure that graft stays above the soil line by a couple of inches. Add compost to the soil and cover the roots completely, but do not pack the soil tightly. Cover the base of your newly planted tree with about two inches of mulch, spreading it out at least two feet all the way around. This will deter weed growth. Weed the area around the tree regularly throughout the first couple of years.

Caring for your peach tree

Prune your new tree to encourage new growth as soon as it is planted. Water regularly during the first year, especially in dry weather. As your tree grows, prune it regularly to remove any suckers and waterspouts (green “branches” that grow straight up) that form and get rid of branches that grow downward or rub on other branches. Regular pruning keeps the tree healthy and helps produce a good crop.

Container trees

Smaller peach trees, known as dwarf trees, can be grown in large pots and placed on patios or decks. These trees produce less fruit than the standard sized tree but are good for cool-weather regions. The Pix-Zee and Honey Babe are two varieties that grow well in containers. Once your tree begins producing fruit, thin it out so the peaches grow large and juicy.

Peach Melba recipe

Try this Peach Melba recipe using the fresh peaches harvested from your tree.

peach melba


For the poached peaches

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you prefer it)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Half a cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 peaches

For the raspberry sauce

  • 6 oz. fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Splash of Chambord

To assemble the Peach Melba

  • Vanilla ice cream, as needed
  • Poached peaches
  • Raspberry sauce
  • Mint leaves for garnish


For the poached peaches

Combine all of the ingredients except the peaches in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking as needed to melt the sugar.

Cut the peaches in half vertically, working your knife around the pit in the center. Then you remove the pit. If the peaches are hard and unripe, this can be tricky. After cutting them, you may need to grab each side and twist hard to separate the halves. I then take a small narrow knife and cut around the pit as much as possible. Then with a teaspoon, or ideally a grapefruit spoon, I gently pry out the pit without breaking the peach flesh. Of course, you can escape all this drama by employing ripe peaches.

Add the peach halves to the poaching liquid. Place a small plate or the lid from a small pot on top of them to keep them submerged. Poach them until tender. The time will vary on the ripeness of the peaches. Unripe peaches will take about ten minutes, give or take. Riper peaches will take less. Periodically check for doneness by inserting a small knife or fork into them.

Remove the peaches and chill them or simply leave them in the syrup in the fridge to cool. The syrup can be used for other fruit, ice cream, pancakes, etc. You can simmer it further, sans peaches, to increase its thickness.

For the raspberry sauce

Rinse the raspberries and whiz them in a food processor until pureed. Scrape them out into a small saucepan. Whisk in the sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, a little longer for a thicker sauce.

Finish by whisking in a splash of Chambord and simmering briefly. (Chambord is a delicious raspberry liqueur from France). Work the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove the seeds.

Give it a final stir and cool.

To assemble the Peach Melba

Add some vanilla ice cream to a bowl. Place one or two peach halves on top. Drizzle with some of the raspberry sauce. Top with a mint leaf for garnish.