Sometimes, a tree feels like a miracle. That is what Eva's Pride is to me. I thinned and thinned the tree this early spring, and it still bore so much fruit its lower branches sagged to the mulch below. Last year, this tree was half its current size and gave me many fruit for its small stature, but now, now I'm swimming in peaches.
If picked early, this peach is unremarkable. It's simply tangy and pretty. But if left to ripen on the tree until it falls off in my hands, Eva's Pride is a fantastic peach. The flesh is so juicy and tender, slicing is an impossibility, so to work with these peaches, I must have my hands over a bowl to collect the slurpy fruit and juices. The skin slides right off the red-mottled flesh without blanching. The flavor has that distinct peach zing that is missing from lots of more recently hybridized peaches: it is not a low-acid peach.
I couldn't tell you how many peaches I've collected from this tree already this year, and there are many more to go. I've eaten peaches with every meal (in salads, on cereal, alongside sandwiches), given some to neighbors, traded them for zucchini and eggs, and I've been preserving them, too.
My in-laws were in town last week; while here, my mother-in-law and I made a batch of soft-set Eva's Pride jam, the color deep rosy-orange, tinted by the blood-streaked flesh. I also started a batch of peach schnapps infusing in the closet.
Yesterday, I tried my hand at making fruit leather from some of the peaches, a venture so successful I wonder why I've never tried it before. I've already got another batch drying, this time a peach-blueberry combination.
Before the harvest is done, I hope to make several more batches of jam, perhaps a peach-ginger batch and maybe a peach rhubarb. I don't think this is the best baking peach, as it is so soft-fleshed, but I may try a pie anyway. Some peach ice cream sounds good. However, what I will be doing most of is eating this peach fresh, slightly hunched over to avoid the drips, sometimes over the sink, sometimes over a plate, and quite frequently in the garden, slurping it up and dropping the pit wherever it may fall.
- Eva's Pride, a Zaiger introduction patented in 1991, has been in the ground at this property since early 2010.
- It is on Nemaguard rootstock.
- It is heavily mulched, and, during the warm months, watered twice a week on a drip system.
- This is its second crop.