Frozen Peaches

What does one do with frozen peaches? The underlying question, of course, is what does one do with peaches? There are so many of them, and they go so quickly. Can't have them rotting on the ground and yet if brought home they melt into the counter within a few days. Their already fuzzy skins bloom with white and black. They leave behind a goo, the underside of their ripeness. To capture them ripe without catching the toughness and putrefaction that define the borders of ripe is the passion of autumn, for some.

This passion can take two forms: anxiety and hoarding. These may sound like the same thing. But while the anxious is obsessed with wasted peaches (those on the ground are failures, or if not too rotten yet, rescues) the hoarder has a more generous outlok. The hoarder sees the peach season as an opportunity. Noteably, the anxious has trees in the yard and is tasked with caring for them (i.e. using them), whereas the hoarder rents others'.

The anxious picks as many as possible ripe off the tree and uses them immediately. Uses and not eats beause eating is only one use. Other uses include baking in a crisp and pairing with ice cream. Not so much pleasures as ways to cut losses. One does not so much taste the presence of peaches as the absence of the loss of peaches. One feels less a failure.

The hoarder, having access to far more trees, picks and picks. It's not much work, picking peaches, and so boxes and boxes fill up quickly. Here we return to the second question: what to do with all those peaches? One can't eat them quickly enough, even in a crisp. No matter. The hoarder believes ripeness can be preservered. Peaches can be frozen. Fleeting pleasure can be had throughout the year. As the anxious tastes the mitigation of failure, the hoarder tastes shrewdness in frozen peaches. Having given perishability the slip, one tastes oneself.

Now we come to the first question: What does not do with frozen peaches? Much as one would like to believe they are peaches, they're something else when they thaw. As they thaw, they release their liquid. They divide, much like curdling milk, into liquid and solid. A bowl of thawed peaches is a bowl of sweet, orange soup. One can ignore the soup, cover it with oats, butter, and sugar, and bake it, but the oats turn soggy. The peach-solids boil into near disintegration in the oven. But it is crisp, in it are still technically peaches, and one may still revel in the simulacric bounty of refrigeration.

One may also acknowledge the soup, and treat its two components different. One then pours off the liquid into a pot, covers the solids with oats, butter, and sugar, and bakes them. One boils the liquid with more sugar and spices, down to a thick brown sauce, and pours this over the crisp. This necromantic trickery makes a less soggy crisp, but still, soggy, and the peaches, if indeed they are peaches, sad, deflated, and oddly flavorless without their sauce. Some things cannot be fixed or solved. To solve them is to change what the solution was meant to preserve. It would be smug, however, to suggest that the lack of a solution is a solution. It's not as if the gesture of stepping aside causes the peach to leap forth with its true flavor. On the unyielding terms one lays out, one has never tasted a peach.

21 October 2012