It’s Can Jam time! We are on Month #9 Can Jam. Together we have canned Citrus, Carrots, Alliums, Herbs, Rhubarb (or Asparagus), Berries and Cucurbits and the (not)Tomatoes.
Last month’s debacle of no tomatoes led to a sad, woeful, pity party of not-canning-tomatoes-post. But this month I’m in!
September’s star ingredient was chosen by the ever lovely Kate at Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. She chose stone fruits – to include peaches, apricots, plums, cherries & nectarines. And I, for one, am excited!
I have a peach tip for you. Last month while in eastern WA (where the sun shines) I came home with a glut of peaches. More peaches than I could deal with. I mean, really… how much peach jam can 1 household eat?! So I froze them. Whole. Skins on. I had tried this with tomatoes last year with great results and was even happier with how it worked for the peaches. So, when life gives you too many peaches? Freeze ’em and deal later!
Spicy Peachy Salsa
adapted from Local Kitchen & Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
- 1 cup cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
- 9 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and finely chopped (about 6 lbs gross, 5 and 1/2 lbs net)
- 1 and 1/2 cups red onion, chopped
- 6 jalapeño peppers, minced, seeded as desired (about 3/4 cup; I left all seeds in. Wear gloves to chop)
- 2 small green bell peppers and 2 Cubanelle peppers, seeded, ribs removed, chopped into 1/4″ dice (total of 2 cups chopped) I used a mix of bell and sweet peppers.
- 1/2 lb red tomatoes, sliced on the equator, juice & seeds squeezed out, hulled and chopped
- 3/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, loosely packed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 5 or 6)
- 1/2 tsp minced habanero pepper (I used a whole one)
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Prepare canner, jars & lids.
- Add vinegar, chopped peaches, onion, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper to a large (8 quart) stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Fill hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Yields about 5-6 pints.
Using the frozen peaches worked great! All I needed to do was run them under water and the skins came right off. Bonus!
I did chop the peaches by hand because they were still slightly frozen and when I tried to use the food processor it got creamy instead of chopped. Tasty? Yes. But not ideal for salsa! The rest of ingredients I chopped in food processor.
Result? Incredibly tasty. It is a bit more “liquidy” than I like so next time I’ll drain a bit of the liquid off first. Local Kitchen, in her recipe explanation, discussed this and had a great idea to drain and reduce fluids. But… well… I was short on time. And didn’t feel like washing 1 more dish or pan. Or spend 1 more second on my feet. So there you have it. Lazy canning! However, I also imagine it will increase the taste over time having all those amazing flavors in the fluid mix and if I still think it is too watery I can drain a bit off before using.
And, I had a bit of left over fluid without enough solids for me to feel ok about canning so I did reduce it a bit and put it in the fridge to use as a glaze for grilled pork. Mmm.
Done yet? Nope! I’ve got a bonus peach salad recipe for you!
For the Love of Salads: Peach Arugula Salad
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 firm-ripe peaches (1 1/2 lb total)
- 24 thin slices pancetta (Italian unsmoked cured bacon; 1 1/4 lb)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 oz baby arugula (6 cups)
- 2 1/2 oz finely crumbled ricotta salata or a nice feta (1/2 cup)
- Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- Whisk together vinegar, juice, and salt, then add extra-virgin oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Me, I’m not much of a ‘whisker” or “emulsifier.” I’m more of a “dump in a jar and shaker.” You can do what you like.
- Cut an X in bottom of each peach and immerse in boiling water 15 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. You can do like Julia does and use ice packs instead of ice cubes. Trust me… this will revolutionize your peach/tomato peeling experience. Peel peaches and cut each into 6 wedges. I have made this after peeling and I have also left the skins on with no discernible difference in taste. So again, do what you like. It is a salad, not rocket science.
- Unroll pancetta slices and wrap one slice around each wedge, overlapping ends of pancetta. Heat remaining oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook peaches in 2 batches, turning over occasionally with tongs, until pancetta is browned on all sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per batch. I would use as little oil as possible. You’ll get oil from the pancetta anyway. You don’t want them to stick to, but you also don’t want greasy peaches. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered loosely with foil.
Divide arugula and warm pancetta-wrapped peaches among 8 salad plates. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with ricotta salata (or a good feta) and pepper. Serve immediately.