Note: Make sure to check out the updated version of this recipe, with tasting notes on the effects of shelf storage and mellowing.
I went out to Fishkill Farms the other day, to pick blackberries, and came home not only with 11 pounds of berries, but a big bag of peaches and some early Paula Red apples. Since the berries freeze well, while peaches do not, I decided to freeze most of the berries (the ones we didn’t eat!) and make a big batch of peach salsa.
Peaches are one of nature’s great foods, even more versatile than the tomato, if such a thing is possible. Not only is a perfectly ripe summer peach one of life’s great pleasures, peaches can be preserved in so many ways. In years past, I have made peach rum sauce, ginger peach jam, peach barbecue sauce, peach conserve, steak sauce and of course, peach salsa. This year I have in mind some spiced peaches in honeyed syrup, probably more rum sauce and maybe BBQ sauce, and possibly a peach granita. Or a peach melba with blackberry sauce. Hmmmm. So many peaches, so little time.
Looking for a fresh peach salsa recipe? Click here.
Adapted from Peach Salsa the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, by J. Kingry & L. Devine.
- 1 cup vinegar (white, cider or white wine)
- 9 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, chopped (about 6 lbs) into 1/4-inch dice (I used a mix of yellow & white peaches from Fishkill Farms)
- 1 and 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 6 jalapeno peppers, minced, seeded as desired (wear gloves to chop)
- 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed, chopped into 1/2″ dice (about 2 cups chopped)
- 3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 and 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt (non-iodized is best for canning)
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or dried, ground local chile pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- Fill a large stockpot half-full of water and bring to boiling. Fill a large bowl half-way with ice and add cold water to fill (for ice bath).
- If canning, prepare canner, jars & lids.
- Make a small X in the blossom end (opposite the stem) of the peach with a sharp knife. Drop the peach into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove the peach with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice bath (best done in or over the sink). Quickly slide the skin off of the peach; if it resists, keep the next peach in the water for an additional 10 seconds, until you find the right time. If the peach flesh seems soft & soggy, boil for less time. Peel all the peaches and keep in a bowl full of icy cold water. Add lemon juice or citric acid, if desired, to the bowl of water in order to prevent browning.
- Measure out the vinegar into a medium stockpot. Pit and chop the peaches, dropping the pieces by the cup-full into the vinegar and stirring to prevent browning. (Keep track of how many cups you have added on a small notepad!) I often use the food processor for this step, which will, however, leave you with some larger chunks and some pulverized peach. It’s more convenient for a large batch, but hand-chopping is the way to go if you want consistency of size in your peach chunks.
- Add onion, peppers, cilantro, honey, garlic, cumin, salt and chile powder. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes (or more if you like a thicker, yet more cooked down, salsa).
- Fill hot, sterilized half-pint or pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Yields about 6 – 7 pints.
- To make this recipe completely local you could eliminate the cumin; however, cumin is in almost every salsa recipe out there – I have tried salsa without it and it just doesn’t taste right (the same goes for cilantro, which is thankfully available locally).
- If canning, you can reduce the amounts of onion, jalapeno & bell pepper, garlic and cilantro without affecting the safety of the recipe, however do not increase them as you will affect the acidity, and therefore the safety, of the recipe. You can subsitute non-acid ingredients for each other safely; for instance, cut the onion down to 1 cup and swap in 1/2 cup more of red pepper.
Store fresh, cooked salsa in the refrigerator for about a week. Peaches will start to lose color and texture after that time. Store canned salsa for up to 1 year in a cool, dark place. (Ambient light will cause the color of the salsa to fade).
Peaches are in season in late summer.