“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” ~Mark Twain
Pennsylvania peaches are here–the one summer fruit we buy in crate loads that wasn’t grown in Vermont. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, plums, pears: between farms, family homes and friends’ homesteads, these are all within picking reach. But that bitter almond turned delectable juicy sweetness that is the peach, for that we get excited to hear that refrigerated trucks are driving north.
I canned them for the first time this year–in the past we’ve always gone the route of freezing, but this year our freezers are packed with chickens and lamb at the moment. For that reason, and for the memory of a gift of canned peaches last winter (how wonderfully accessible–no thawing required! and the slices resembled their fresh counterparts much more closely than our frozen bags did)–I set to work peeling, coring, and slicing each peach, heating them in white grape juice, packing them into jars, and canning them in a boiling-water bath for 25 minutes.
That’s what I did with the first crate, at least.
The second crate has been purely for fresh eating. It’s not hard to go through a crate of peaches. The perfect snack on a summer day, their juice runs down the corners of our mouths and onto our shirts, and we readily slurp them up. Beyond the yogurt and peach breakfast and the sliced peach snack, we’ve been devouring peach salsa (chopped peaches, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and salt), marinating fish in peaches and ginger, and slicing the fruit in half to heat in the broiler and top with ice cream.
There are perhaps 10 peaches left, which means I’ll need to pick up another crate soon, this time to make and can peach puree for the winter. Funny how all this bounty makes me think of winter, but I assure you I am utterly present in each bite of peach. It’s only after I’m done eating that I envision a cold winter evening, a wood fire warming the yurt, and the joy of pulling out a sunny jar of peaches for dessert. I assure you, I’ll be wrapped up in the moment then, too.