The upside of seasonal eating has gotten enough play. Today we turn to its darker side. To the part of eating seasonally where summer ends and I am supposed to set aside perfect peaches for pumpkin soup and root vegetables. What kind of solace is that, I ask?
In the coming weeks I’ll settle in, I know, remembering the unexpected heights that Brussels sprouts can reach and that miso-roasted squash and kale salad. I’ll even delight in planning our vegetarian Thanksgiving menu. Eventually.
But for today, let’s talk about holding onto those peaches for as long as we can.
This recipe is the love child of this sweet tomato jam and this savory peach jam. It was inspired by a tomato and peach salad we ate all summer and a tomato and peach gazpacho served in the cafe of my favorite bookstore. And like all my good jam ideas, I later learned that Marisa had it first.
This jam is equal parts peaches and tomatoes by weight, but the result is more sweet than savory; the umami notes of tomato and balsamic add just a whisper of intrigue. As you’d expect, it’s most at home alongside a soft cheese or spooned over a piece of salmon, but it’s no slouch in a sandwich or vinaigrette either.
Tomato Peach Balsamic Jam: Prepare 2.5 lbs peaches by peeling, chopping and mashing them (to yield about 4 c. mashed peaches). Prepare 2.5 lbs. tomatoes by chopping them finely (to yield about 5 c. chopped tomatoes; do not seed or peel the tomatoes).
In a large pot with a heavy bottom, combine the tomatoes and peaches with 3 c. sugar, 1/2 c. bottled lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil and continue to cook at a low boil, stirring often and mashing any big chunks of peach against the side of the pot as they bubble up. Cook until the mixture thickens and reduces by about a third (it will continue to thicken as it cools). This might take up to an hour. Fill sterilized jars and process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
Disclosure: I made this jam using peaches sent to me by the Washington State Fruit Commission. For more canning recipes and preserving inspiration, visit them at sweetpreservation.com.