Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Peaches Are In!

I shop at my farmer's market on a pretty much weekly basis. It's a part of the routine, and just daily living. But this past weekend turned out to be special - the peaches are in.

Nothing smells as good as a fresh ripe peach. And there is no fruit as sexy.

I knew in advance there would be two grower's with peaches this week. I got the head's up in the weekly email newsletter from the farmer's market, which I'm happy to subscribe to. The advance warning gave me the opportunity to peruse a few cookbooks and decide what to do with the peaches. Knowing what you'll cook is a handy piece of information to have when deciding how many peaches to buy. And an afternoon spent with a glass of wine and a pile of cookbooks is not a waste of time.

We scooted down to the market a little later than usual- the sky was gray, the forecast called for stormy weather, and the coffee tasted good. The delay nearly cost me my peaches.

After The Boyfriend bought his requisite breakfast tacos, and I had dawdled around buying bread and produce, we made our way to my favorite farmer and egg guy. As we chatted and waited for our turn at the eggs the cold front arrived. Literally. With one big gust of wind the temperature drop by 15 degrees. I exaggerate not, this happens here in Central Texas. I knew I had mere minutes to get my peaches and get out.

I paid for my eggs, and hurriedly made my way to the peaches. They were beautiful - so soft, so delicate, and the smell... but no time for dalliance the storm was on it's way. I loaded up my market bag with several pounds of peaches, paid, and thanked the farmer.

Then the rain came. In buckets.

We ran the 5 blocks back to the car, carefully handling my little lovelies so as to neither bruise them nor let them get too wet. And I was in flip-flops. But nothing could stop me.

With the peaches safely home and the cold front firmly in place I opened all the windows in the house, a treat as rare as ripe peaches in Texas in May, and prepared to spend the afternoon in the kitchen.

I wanted to get out the canning equipment and try my hand again at preserving the harvest. My previous success with the strawberries had whet my appetite. After previously mentioned cookbook perusing I had decided on the Spiced Peach Jam from The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest, and the Peach Rum Sauce from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (both links in the lower right column).

It wasn't an easy decision, there's a ton of yummy things you can do with peaches - besides just eating them. Which we also did. Of course. But not too many.

Both recipes turned out perfect - delicious, a bit out of the ordinary, and the smell... By dinner time that evening I had six pints of jam and eight pints of sauce. Every jar sealed. Dinner time was 9 PM.

Word on the street is that the blackberries will be in this Saturday...

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