Sweet Spot

When we first moved to this house there was an old peach tree that gave us more fruit than we knew what to do with. So I learned to can.

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I read Martha Stewart’s basic canning instructions, figuring she would reliably do things right, then I found this recipe and jumped in. Being new to canning, I made the mistake of multiplying the recipe, which gives a completely different result than the recipe as written. We found it a happy mistake, though, and for fifteen years that’s the way I’ve made it.

This is by far my most popular preserve and if I bring it somewhere I know better than to bring only one jar, so I work my way through about 40 pounds of peaches each August. Its most obvious application is on crackers with a nice sharp cheese, but it works on so many things – ice cream, pizza, omelettes, chicken, fish, or tofu – because it perfectly balances sweet and heat. Even my most spice-averse friends have come to love it, once they get over the fear inspired by the very word habanero.

A lot has changed on the internet since 2000. What hasn’t changed is that strangers can make each others’ lives richer by sharing what they know is good. This, fellow strangers on the internet, is good.

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