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Fiery Peach Salsa from 'Little Jars, Big Flavors'

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[Photograph: Ellen Silverman]

Perfectly ripe, raw peaches eaten over the sink, juice dripping down my arm—it's probably my favorite activity of summer. I prefer the fruit in this ideal state, but I'll eat peaches in just about any form throughout their glorious season. Once the summer is over, though, I usually stop with the peach frenzy for fear of encountering stringy, mushy, or bland fruit. Now that I've got my hands on Southern Living's Little Jars, Big Flavors—a book with plenty of recipes for peach preserves—I'll be able to enjoy peaches all the way through the colder months, too.

This fiery peach salsa, peppered with minced habañero, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro, is a perfect example. It is made with rock-hard underripe fruit to withstand the canning process; by the time the jars are opened, the crunchy peach chunks have submitted to the spicy brine, turning soft and absorbing the multitudinous flavors in the jar.

Why I picked this recipe: Fresh, homemade peach salsa preserved for eating during sad, peach-less months? Yes, please.

What worked: Overall, this was an excellent fruit salsa with plenty of spice from the peppers.

What didn't: I thought the final result was a tad on the sweet side. Next time, I may drop the sugar back a bit and maybe even increase the lime juice. The cilantro turns a bit murky in the jar and doesn't add too much of its grassy flavor. Next time, I'll just stir in chopped fresh herbs when serving.

Suggested tweaks: If you want a spicier salsa, leave the seeds in the jalapeño and/or habañero.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Little Jars, Big Flavors to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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