Pickled Peach Time

When I was at the farmers market last weekend there was no doubt that it is springtime in Houston.  Blackberries, blueberries, duck eggs, goat cheeses and the season's first peaches.  The first peaches of the season tend to be a little smaller, and while they have a nice full flavor they tend to be picked a bit under ripe. Maybe the farmers are all trying to beat each other to be the first with peaches on the table.  These small and slightly under ripe peaches are perfect for pickling.  The process is very simple and you will be rewarded this winter with a very versatile and delicious bit of spring in your pantry.  

Here is the recipe to put up your own peaches: 

  • 1 lug small peaches
  • 1 1/2 gallons white wine vinegar
  • 6 quarts sugar
  • pickling spices*

Bring a large pan of water to a boil.  Blanch peaches the until skins start to loosen.  Drop into ice bath.  Once all of the peaches are blanched, peal them and pack into canning jars with spices*. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Ladle into jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Process jars for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Now you have pickled peaches.  They need to cure for at least 30 days.  Then what?  They are great with grilled or roasted meats and over ice cream ( especially fresh corn ice cream ).  You can also do what I am going to do and wait until this winter and make a pickled peach cobbler. ( But that's a recipe for another day.)

* For the spices, get creative.  The usual suspects would be cinnamon, star anise, mustard seed, fenugreek and black pepper.  I did some with habanero and a few with vanilla beans.  

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