Plum-Blueberry Salsa

When you’ve just come home from a month-long vacation and the much-loved older sister of your childhood best friend is traveling through town with her husband and two dogs, you have them for dinner. Of course, you do. The house may be a little musty-dusty; the yard is definitely overgrown. Since the fridge is sadly empty, it’s time run to the store, throw a couple of whole chickens on the grill, roast new potatoes with Herbes de Provence, make your best green beans with lemon, toss an apple pie into the oven, dust off a favorite Oregon Pinot Noir, and hope for the best. You choose a meal you can (nearly) make with your eyes closed and, God is good — as God is — it’s all fine. It’s all fine. It’s just so good to see old friends.

Jump to Recipe

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Blueberry-Peach Salsa

But…if we’re having summer smoky-grilled chicken, we need a sauce. Nope. We need a salsa. Which is the same thing, only in Spanish. Well, kind of. This time of year, I often make a peach salsa, sometimes with grilled corn. I had that mind; I did. Colorado has some of the best peaches in the world but for the love of Pete, we locals often can’t find any. The rest of the country goes on infinitum about Colorado peaches. I go to the store and there’s nada, nix, nothing, nil, nought. Well, there are peaches but they’re hard as rocks and, for real, butt ugly. I buy some, plan to put them in the window, and pray for the best. Meanwhile, what’s my salsa going to be made of?

…butt ugly peaches praying for sun in my window

Not only am I looking for fruit that will WORK, I’m also looking for RIPE fruit that will work. Then I see these babies (Japanese plums below) and I know I’m making plum salsa. I’ve never heard of plum salsa but have no doubt it’ll be lovely. I touch them and they give slightly. I sniff them and they’re sweetly scented. Phew. What else will go with them? I think the usual suspects will do. Jalapeño. Sweet peppers, red onion, berries, fresh soft herbs…

I get down my favorite 6-quart stainless steel mixing bowl and I toss everything in, one ingredient at a time. I can see things this way. I can think about what more I’ll need. I toss and taste. Needs acid (peaches are more acidic than plums) and heat. Leans toward spice. Begs for a little sweetness. I can do that. The ingredients that work look like this:

You might like it sweeter. With more heat. With less black pepper. You do you. It’s your salsa.

Here it is below with our dinner. You might choose fatty-crisp salmon, crunchy grilled shrimp, or succulent lamb chops instead of chicken. Maybe you’ll just open a bag of tortilla chips or even cinnamon tortilla (or pita) chips!

…shown here with smoked chicken, green beans, and roasted potatoes

Plums were made infinitely more famous by the following poem, which has been rewritten to serve many, many purposes over the years since it was written in 1938…. The story goes that William Carlos Williams wrote this to his wife, Flossie:

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

~William Carlos Williams

Reply (crumpled on her desk)

 Dear Bill: 

I've made a  couple of sandwiches for you. In the ice-box you'll find blue-berries--a cup of grapefruit a glass of cold coffee.

 On the stove is the tea-pot with enough tea leaves for you to make tea if you prefer--Just light the gas-- boil the water and put it in the tea.

 Plenty of bread in the bread-box and butter and eggs-- I didn't know just what to make for you. Several people called up about office hours--

 See you later. Love. Floss. 

Please switch off the telephone.

note: spacing incorrect

Read a little more about “This is Just to Say” here.

Meantime, perhaps you’re more interested in cooking than you are in poetry. If so, it’s time to try this and put summer in your belly where it’ll do the most good:

Plum-Blueberry Salsa

A bright late summer or early fall salsa for chicken, fish, shrimp, pork, or tortilla chips. Substitute ripe peaches or mango for the plums.
Makes about 2 cups salsa.


  • 4 small ripe plums, pitted, and cut into small dice
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup English cucumber, cut into small dice (peeled if American)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet red bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno-membranes and seeds removed—or to taste, optional but recommended
  • 1-2 teaspoons mild red onion or shallots—or to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons EACH fresh mint and basil minced—or to taste. Can sub cilantro for mint and basil
  • Pinch each: kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Drizzle honey
  • Juice of one lime


  • In a small, deep bowl, mix the salsa ingredients together gently. Taste and adjust seasonings such as herbs, jalapeño, salt and pepper, lime, and honey. Best made and served within an hour or so, you can store leftovers for a day though the salsa may lose color and crispness.


  • As noted above, sub peaches or mango for the plums. Choose diced ripe strawberries –or blackberries or raspberries — instead of blueberries.
  • Additions might include watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon.
  • Jicama, celery, fennel, kiwi, apple, or pineapple are other swaps or even additions.
  • Many people like spicy salsa. Use extra jalapeño or add hot sauce to increase heat or put a small dish of minced jalapeño or other hot pepper on the table.
  • Some cooks cook the onions, jalapeños, sweet peppers, etc. before adding fruit, acid, and seasonings. I don’t think this particular salsa would necessarily benefit from cooking but you can check out the idea here.


30 Fruit Salsa Recipes You’ll Want to Make/TASTE OF HOME

This Simple Trick for Slicing Clingstone Peaches Really Works/ (Works for plums, too!)

We did go to St-Pierre-et-Miquelon. With a couple of ferry rides, you can drive there! (You don’t, however, need a car on St. Pierre if you’d like to leave it in Newfoundland.)


Regular readers know I’ve been on vacation for a month with husband and best sous Dave, flying to Minnesota to visit old close friends and then on to Boston where we caught a cruise ship and sailed to Iceland and back in 25 days. It sounds so easy to type that!

St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Of course we visited many spots in between Boston and Iceland, including St. John’s, Newfoundland (picture above) where we tasted brews at Quidi Vidi Brewery (pronounced Kitty Vitty by the locals). There are more stories than will fit here but I’m going to squeeze quite a few into the blog as I try out recipes from several spots along the way— particularly some from around the country of Iceland where the food was simple, sustainingly luscious, and creative.

She hadn’t forgotten us at all and was thrilled with a new “baby” I had waiting for her.

Our now 9-year old Labradoodle Rosie had her vacation with her fave girls at our vet’s kennel, with whom we communicated by text for a month and only then when we could get wifi; it wasn’t always possible. Spotty communication proved difficult but also enlightening. We need those cut-off times to be solely and firmly held “in the moment,” as the saying goes. So good to go get our girl on returning, which turned out to be three days later. I stepped off the ship on the way to the airport only to discover I’d somehow gotten one rip-roaring UTI. A quick trip to urgent care, another to the pharmacy, and two extra nights in a hotel bed had me in a little better shape to make the trip home. Very grateful it happened AFTER the cruise instead of during. And thank God for doctors who work in urgent care practices–and also for antibiotics. I’m still dragging a smidge.

Enjoy the last days of summer and add a little spicy fruit salsa to whatever you’re dreaming up for the weekend.

Thanks for keeping me company in the kitchen; you’re excellent company, as always,


Worth sharing!!!

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