ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Spiced Peaches,” from Local Flavors, by Deborah Madison*
TIMING: 1/2 hour, between a little chopping and some simmering
DIFFICULTY: Easy, but experience would be helpful
TOOLS: A heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Mine is an enameled cast iron Le Creusset
COOK TYPE: Stove top
HEALTH: Sugar, sugar, sugar. On the flip side: fruit, fruit, fruit. I don’t think a little homemade fruit sauce would go awry on top of some premium ice cream or some whole grain waffles, but I’m also not going to tell you this is health food.
EXPERIENCE: I had a few peaches that were just about to shrivel up and die on me sitting next to a couple tomatoes in the same predicament. I thought, “I’ll make peach jam,” and then I thought, “and the tomatoes would fit right in there.”
I know, I know, you’re now thinking “Hold the boat! Why the heck would I put tomatoes in my peach jam!?” Let’s see if I can convince you. Tomatoes are a fruit? They sort of are. They have natural sugars which come out during cooking. Well, some anyhow. While the aroma, seeds, and redness do not dissipate in the cooking, the taste and shape do. In other words, there is no reason for anyone to really even notice they are there, because they come off tasting like a mess of peaches. That, and tomato jam is a real thing. Tomatoes do have what it takes to hold up in a jam all by themselves, so…
So how did I get from a jam to a “Jam Sauce”? I thought jam was misleading for this quick preparation. You could smoosh it onto some bread, but it is very chunky and runny, much more fitted for the ice cream or waffles that I suggested above.
Everyone who tried it at our Fourth of July celebration said they liked it and ate it up on their ice cream. I thought a little on a spoon straight from the jar was really yummy. (I don’t do vanilla ice cream.)
- Peel 5-6 medium-large peaches and tomatoes in any combination of at least half peaches. If they are on their last leg, as mine were, they should peel easily by tugging on the skin with a paring knife.
- Slice them up into fairly large chunks and place in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
- Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Turn the heat to high until you see some bubbles.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is syrupy and thick, adjusting heat down as needed to keep a simmer.
- You can cool and remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves now, or you can do that when you serve it later. Store in the fridge.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whole grain waffles. It would be nice warm, as well as cooled.
*Recipe has been changed from the original.