July 10, 2012
We grow Mid Pride peaches in the yard, which for me, is the perfect mix of sweetness and tang. These yellow, free stones are known to do well in warm winter climates, are delicious in pies and make fantastic jam. This summer, I have had my most abundant peach crop ever from my two trees. I hate to say it, but there are so many it’s almost burdensome. The peaches always seem to be ready to harvest the day or two before we’re leaving on vacation. I may grumble about their timing, but the truth is that I gladly wake up extra early or stay up late to accommodate the harvest because they’re the best darn peaches I’ve ever eaten.
I was researching what to do with all this fruit– cookbooks strewn across my large marble island — when I realized that a reoccurring theme kept capturing my attention (no, it wasn’t the glass of wine to my right). It was the technique of using the kernel of the peach pit for an added dimension of flavor. From older publications like Ada Boni’s classic Italian Regional Cooking, to newer ones, such as The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, they all touted using the pit kernel for flavor.
Maybe I’m a little late to the party, but this was amazing to me. I had always thought the inside of the pit was poisonous, but with the help of a meat mallet, I whopped open a pit to discover a sweet almond smell and taste–practically marzipan with a just a bit of bitterness.
For my latest batch of jam I followed the suggestion of Blue Chair and flavored it as the jam cooked, with the kernels chopped up and placed in a tea sieve. The flavor change was slight, but delicious. After that, there was no stopping me. I did the same with my pies and then chopped the kernels up finely for stuffed peaches, per Ada Boni’s suggestion. In every instance the result was tasty, interesting and fun— and it achieved what I didn’t think was possible: it made my Mid Pride’s even more delicious.