Valley Bounty: Peaches

Do I dare to eat a peach? With last summer’s stone fruit crop loss, it’s been a while since we’ve had to give a literal answer to Alfred J. Prufrock’s famously ambiguous question. But at the farmers’ market last weekend they had returned, like an old friend returning home from time spent abroad. And, displaying none of Prufrock’s characteristic deliberation, I had barely rounded the corner to walk home before I was halfway through my first peach of the season.

Biting straight into a juicy peach is one of the archetypal summer experiences, but if you’re also looking for a way to save some of that summer flavor for leaner months, I’m a fan of making and canning some peach salsa. Combine chopped peaches, tomatoes, onion, and peppers (sweet or spicy, depending on preference) in a stock pot, along with salt, cilantro, and lime juice to taste and some vinegar (a half cup to a cup, depending on how much salsa you’re making). Simmer everything together for 10 minutes, then pour into sterilized pint jars and seal by boiling the whole jars with the lids screwed on gently. The sweetness of the peaches balances the acid of the lime/vinegar and the heat of the peppers nicely—try it with chips, in tacos, or on grilled chicken or fish.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)