I have a confession. A couple of years ago I shared a peach salsa recipe. The original recipe was from Put ‘Em Up, still one of my favorite canning books. But the truth is, that was the only year I made that particular salsa. For the last two years I’ve been making a completely different peach salsa. And hiding it from you. Pretending Put ‘Em Up’s recipe was the best one out there. But no. I’ve found better. Can you forgive me?
If you look hard enough there are still just a few peaches left. I almost overlooked them at the Fort Greene Farmer’s Market last week, mistaken them for another variety of apples among the already half a dozen or so other bins. Between canning, crisping and just straight out eating, I feel like I’ve gotten my fill of peaches for the summer. But when the last of a harvest is about to leave you for almost a full year, somehow you find the need to buy just a few more.
I haven’t put up whole (well, quarter) peaches in some time. I started canning three years ago and was perhaps a bit overambitious. I put up salsa, dilly beans and jams with ease. How much different could whole fruit be? I was house sitting for my mom for a few weeks and toted my trusty canning pot along with me for the ride. Her kitchen is about 3 times the size of mine with a gorgeous stainless stove and ample marble counter tops. How could I not want to spend every free moment cooking there?
I came home with pounds and pounds of peaches from their local farm, ready to can. Though I wasn’t prepared for the fickleness of peaches. Not too hard, not too soft they had to be just right, blanched for the perfect seconds of time then canned with care. I had a few instances of jars not sealing but eventually canned 5-6 pints of fruit. Though when I later went to enjoy them I found the texture of the peaches reduced to mush, and the flavor far too sugary. After all the stress, I ended up with sub par fruit that got carelessly thrown into a cobbler. I’d almost rather go without peaches than suffer through to make something so flavorless. I was off peaches for good, or so I thought. It was my friend’s perfectly canned bourbon peaches that forced me to go another round with the fickle stone fruit.