The Lonesome Peach Tree
With their parched, woolen outer-skin it was no wonder Salvatore disliked handling them. I too have an aversion for the nails-on-chalkboard-inducing texture of freshly-plucked peaches, whereas my son does not – I suppose this particular idiosyncrasy skips a generation.
Fingertips are one thing, the tongue’s papillae are yet another (gags uncontrollably). Peel it for me, then we’ll talk.
In the days of my youth my relentless inquiries lead to an earlier-than-most-my-age education on reproduction. A sole peach tree had better chances of baring fruit if partnered with a tree with which it could cross-pollinate, my papa would lecture. We had two, so that usually did the trick – I was also given a book whose pages were full of hand-drawn privates and so that took care of that.
After many seasons of avoidance, he finally took good care to ensure this sensory dilemma would never have to be faced again. He uprooted the mate that had cropped up on the other side of the garden. This permanent pruning was good news for Papa and I, but was countered by Frances’ chagrin (spawned by her proclivity for all things dolce).
For years, the arbor would slouch in the far right corner of the garden, gloriously chloroplasting, blossoming, then withering away only to remain cyclically dormant through winter – anxiously awaiting, but perpetually barren.
Tuesday my mother announced that the peach tree had successfully yielded three firm, yet succulent orbs of white flesh.
A recipe to commemorate her enduring sweetness to follow.
SWEET/HEAT PEACH AND JALAPEÑO SALSA
-large mixing bowl
-cucchia(d) aka stirring spoon
-mopine aka kitchen rag, for handling outer flesh of peach, whilst peeling
-1 medium-sized peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2″ cubes
-5 garden-fresh tomatoes, seeded, diced in 1/2″ pieces
-1/2 cup of sweet green or bell peppers (about 2 sweet greens or 1.5 bells) seeded and cut into 1/4″ pieces
-1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, chopped in 1/8″ pieces
-1 small red onion, chopped in 1/8″ pieces
-1/4 cup chopped parsley (or cilantro)
-5 caps-full (3 tbs) of cider vinegar
(optionally, 4 caps vinegar plus 1 cap of peach seltzer)
-1 shake of cumindo (dried cumin)
-1 shake garlic powder
-pink Himalayan twists (or sea salt) to taste
Using a mopine to avoid having to touch their skin, peel peaches and cube.
Finish prepping all other produce on list and place in mixing bowl.
Add vinegar and dry spices. Gently stir, taste for seasoning.
Cover bowl with Saran Wrap and tuck in refrigerator until cooled through before serving. Liquid will continue to be extracted from tomatoes as it cools and oxidizes.
Serve as dip with tortilla/pita chips, alongside faux-chicken or faux-fish dishes or enjoy as an interesting salad dressing.
Yields approximately 12 oz. – keeps for 2 weeks in refrigerated mason jar.