Friday, August 24, 2012

White Peaches: Food Friday

The last time I'd had white peaches, before this week, was back in the mid-90s in New York, and I'd gotten them from the Union Square Greenmarket. They looked gorgeous on the outside, and I was assured they were delicious. After getting them home and biting into them, I was treated to a disgustingly rotten center that somehow started at the pit, but didn't manifest on the outside. Turns out, every white peach I got that day was exactly the same, so needless to say, I was not sold.

White peaches came up on my radar again this year in a couple of ways. All Over Albany had a piece from a local peach farmer discussing the different varieties, and he waxed eloquent on the sweet nature of the white-fleshed varieties. Then my vegetable and fruit dealer, Field-Goods, included white peaches in this week's delivery, along with an opportunity to buy extras. Since jam was on the menu, I decided to try white peaches again, with the idea of getting enough to sate the appetites of my kids and husband (fruit FIENDS!) and to have enough to do a batch of jam.

White Peach with white peach blackberry ginger pisco jam
It was a great idea, until I tasted one. I cannot believe how blandly, cloyingly sweet white peaches are! Juicy, yes, with gorgeous skin, lovely red and gold colors, and the white interior is okay, but the taste - good grief, this is what people were going nuts over? It was so boring, and insipid - the sweetness may as well have been Splenda. They weren't rotten, so that was a plus from my first experience, but what a disappointment.

My family disagrees with my assessment. They like them, and have eaten about 7 pounds already, leaving me a jam-recipe's worth to use. Luckily, I remembered I had some blackberries that I'd frozen when fresh picked, so I figured they'd at least add some pretty color to what promised to be a very beige outcome otherwise.

I was still worried about a lack of flavor, so while on the mix-it-up kick, I added fresh ginger. Since things were going crazy fast, I doubled down and decided to add some pisco liquor I had left from an earlier drink experiment. A few ounces at the end of cooking to spiked it and added more flavor layer voodoo. Luckily, it all worked.

I used a low-sugar pectin and recipe, and it's a good thing because those peaches are very sweet on their own. Much more sugar would have been nauseating. The ginger added a subtle kick, and the blackberries did their color thing, with a bit of flavor nuance too. The pisco brought out a lot of complexity that was missing, and really pulled the whole mess together. It now is one of my favorite jams.

But I still hate white peaches.

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