Before sweet peaches are officially deemed “’pickled” they need to take a cleansing bath, then enjoy a relaxing soak in a warm tub filled with a spice infused syrup, emerging wrinkled, tender little sweet-tarts – Pickled Peaches – little Bijouxs to add to the kitchen pantry.
Hard to believe, but a tiny 1 gallon Florida Prince peach tree planted years ago by my little prince now bears bumper crops of up to 20 pounds of sweet, diminutive little peaches each year. Brandied peaches have been the favorite of the house, but this year the rains have brought an early, very large crop so the call went out to fellow food writers – “recipes needed for canned peaches.”
As luck would have it a new friend via a food bloggers event, Nancy McDermott, who also just happens to hail from the South where they know a thing or two about peaches, fired back a recipe that intrigued me – Pickled Peaches. After making my Bijouxs adaptations and experiments, I am proud to say 10 pounds of peaches are pickled thus far.
The ingredients for pickled peaches, as seen in this tableau, are sweet juicy peaches, whole cinnamon, allspice, cardamom and fresh ginger and according to Bijouxs include a touch of brandy. Gently poached in vinegar and sugar syrup, pickled peaches store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, or spend a little extra time and can the peaches where they will store for up to 1 year in a cool, dark place.
The process for making pickled peaches is really quite simple; there are 3 main steps. First, the peaches are placed in a pan of boiling water for about 30 seconds to loosen the skins.
Second, the peaches are placed in an ascorbic vitamin C-acid bath of ice water to cool and prevent browning. Peel, pit and cut each peach in half (in my case the Florida Prince variety are small I pickled them whole) and return immediately to the bath. Third, the drained peaches are gently poached in sweet-tart syrup for about 10 minutes.
At this point you can choose to cool and refrigerate, or place the hot peaches in jars and proceed with the canning process.
Pickled peaches pair wonderfully with meats, like pork or chicken and make a wonderful sweet-tart condiment alongside a grilled supper. Going to the sweet side, pickled peaches top vanilla ice cream, or indulge in pickled peach and cornmeal shortcake with cardamom whipped cream.