Spiced peaches, which we called pickled peaches in the South, are heady fruits once finished – and can be served with savory as well as sweet stuff. More on that after the recipe.
I use a simple formula that’s good for peaches, apricots and mangoes or any soft stone fruit.
Start with about 4 pounds of sweet, ripe peaches (underripe ones work better in a chutney or for pear butter).
Peel them using the quick dip method: Make an X cut in the bottom of the peach just to break the skin. Drop the peaches, a few at a time, in a pot of boiling water for about 60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon into a colander. Use a pair of clean rubber gloves to grab the peach and hold the skin while the peach slips out. (Do it over a bowl because the peaches are slippery!)
Halve the peaches and pit them, pulling out all the pit fibers as well. Set aside. (To prevent fruit from darkening, squirt with lemon juice – but note that they’ll darken in their pickling liquid anyway.)
Prepare and sanitize 4 wide-mouth pint canning jars or 2 quart jars (or more if you have more peaches.
Cook and can, using recipe and method that follows.
Pickled peaches (Spiced peaches)
- 4 pounds ripe peaches
- Pickling liquid:
- 3 cups sugar
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 3-1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
- Pickling spices:
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1-1/2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
- 1 small piece of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
- 1/2 teaspoon mace or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Combine sugar, water and vinegar in a large stainless or non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil with the spices (put them in loose, or tie them in a bag if you don’t want them in finished jars). Reduce to a simmer.
Add peaches and simmer 10 minutes. Pack peaches in sterilized jars. Continue to cook liquid, simmering for 20 minutes or until syrupy when dripped from spoon. Strain or remove spices if desired.
Pour liquid over peaches in jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with clean paper towel. Seal with sterile lids and tighten rings.
Process in boiling hot water for 10 minutes (or use correct canning method for high altitude canning). Remove and cool; lids all should be concave and sealed to the jars.
Makes 4 pints/ 2 quarts. These are best eaten after they stand a few weeks. Refrigeration is not needed until they are opened.
Serving suggestions: Serve on a cheese plate with soft and hard cheeses (especially good with smoked Gouda), with roast pork or baked ham, over ice cream or warm pound cake or with almond cookies, or other nut shortbread.