Peaches with peppercorns?

Do I write about peach preserve with white peppercorns, or common-or-garden crushed tomatoes for today’s blog entry?

I mean peach-pepper jam, another recipe from my new online heroine Tigress in a Jam is strange and exotic, with a gentle kick of pepper and large chunks of peaches suspended in a sweet-and-slightly-spicy syrup sauce.

But tomatoes are wonderfully in season, and canned, crushed tomatoes are something that we’ll use all winter long, whether it’s in stews or soups or something similar.

So I’ll write about both.

I admit I originally intended to make a tomato sauce with the haul from today’s farmers market run. But dire internet warnings about botulism and the need for pressure canning once vegetables enter the mix encouraged me to stay away from that this time and focus on plain Jane tomatoes, with nothing but salt, lemon juice and a little sugar for seasoning. I’ve never bought that many tomatoes before — the contents of the container weighed in at something over 5 kilos — and blanching, peeling and crushing them all created something of a production line, with tomato juice spattering every surface. (Dark, non favorite clothing is clearly the way to go for a tomato session). But the actual boiling and bottling was scarily quick, in line with a super-simple recipe from something called the National Center Home Food Preservation.

We ended up with eight 500 ml jars, plus some leftovers for freezing, at an average cost of under a buck a jar. I will think of the morning adventure when it comes to pasta sauce and minestrone soup in the dead of winter.

But I think the peach-pepper jam will top that as far as exotica is concerned, with a surprisingly subtle pepper bite along with taste-of-summer peach. It’s another one of those two-day recipes, where day one creates a syrup that’s boiled to a jam on day two. That means the fruit stays surprisingly whole instead of breaking up, so we have a mildly tangy syrup with golden peach slices. They were supposed to be nectarine slices, but I had peaches in stock, so that was that. I also used thyme rather than summer savory and added it too early, which created interesting looking green flecks in the amber jam.

The concoction looks a bit runny for now, but it will presumably firm up a little as it cools down. It tastes glorious already. I had it for lunch with plain organic yogurt. Very yummy.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) (provisional)
(The final figure will come when it cools down, and I see how good the set is.)

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3 Comments »

  1. bernadette said

    Am loving that peach and pepper combo and fantasizing about a cheese sarnie with it. I love how the peaches seem suspended in that syrup. You heading to NYC any time soon? I reckon Customs will confiscate it (and take it home themselves) x

  2. Just bought a box of nectarines for this weekend’s can-o-rama, not really knowing what I would do with it. This is now on the list! I, too, will replace summer savory (which I have no idea where to find) with thyme (which we grow). If I don’t get white peppercorns by Day 2, though, it might have to become ginger (never a bad thing in my book, and which might make it more versatile as yogurt flavoring/ice cream topping). Thoughts?

  3. […] and a couple of so-whats. There already were wonderful successes like tomato basil jam, and the peach peppercorn concoction I took to Santa Fe for sharing there. But what about everything else we […]

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