I'm the foodie in the family, by which I mean I'm the one who thinks about what I'll eat for breakfast before I even open my eyes in the morning. While I'm eating breakfast, my mind is going to lunch and what wonders I might encounter there. That's not to say that my honey doesn't enjoy, even love food; it's just that it doesn't consume him all day long like it does me. Left to his own devices, he might not even go to the store and often just doesn't think of eating if he's in the middle of something, whereas nothing is so interesting that I can't stop to have a snack!
Given our differences, you can bet that I take note when he's really excited about something and that's exactly how this peach salsa obsession came about. On July 4th weekend, I made a trip to the Alameda Farmer's Market and picked up what must have been 10 pounds of sweet nectarines, peaches and various bastardizations of peach-like stone fruits (so many hybrids out there to try now!). I made a rendition of Peach Salsa which can be found in Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving - my version to follow.
Jared swooned over the stuff! He couldn't get enough and there's good reason! There's something about the sweet nectar of the stone fruit combined with the savory of cumin and warmth of the cayenne and bird chilis that's irresistible. I found myself hiding jars so we wouldn't use it all up at once. As a side note, we're planning on giving home-canned preserves and pickles as personalized favors at our wedding in May next year so we need a LOT! Plus, when you try to eat seasonally, you learn to hoard some bright salsa away for those rainy January days. Anyway, I was hoarding away the salsa and it occurred to be that THE MARKET IS STILL FULL OF STONE FRUIT! Why on earth was I testing out recipes for jam that we may never eat and stowing away the salsa that we could down in a matter of weeks with all those fresh nectarines still out there to be had.
So last weekend we took Jared's family, who was in town for a visit, to the Jack London Square Farmer's Market. Sister wanted to take pictures, Mom wanted to find bread and I had nectarines on the brain. Because it was nearly 2pm all the stands had reduced their $1.50/lb fruit to $1/lb. Those early birds can get the expensive worm, but I wanted a truckload of nectarines! I was victorious and ended up with enough nectarines to double the recipe perfectly. Plus, now that I've got my rhythm, from start to finish it only took me an hour and a half to peel the fruit, chop and blend the ingredients and process! Hooray!
Please, go to your local farmer's market this week, load up on your favorite variety (or combination) of peachish stone fruit and make this salsa. You'll be so happy you did.
Confetti Nectarine Salsa (my version of Ball's Peach Salsa)
Makes about eight 8-ounce jars
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cups chopped, pitted peeled peaches (drop them into the vinegar as you chop them to keep them from browning)
1 1/4 cups chopped red onion
10 thai bird chilis - these suckers are hot, so if you're scared of heat, only add half, tasted halfway through cooking then add more to taste. You could also use jalapenos or your personal favorite chili
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp cayenne (if you like mild salsa, start with 1/2 tsp then add more after cooking, to taste)
Combine all ingredients (unless you're limiting your spice usage) in a large stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently until mixture is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary by adding more hot salsa. Wipe rim, center lid on jar and screw on band.
Cover jars completely with hot water in prepared canner, bring to a boil then process for 15 minutes. Allow jars to cool 5 minutes in canner before removing them.