Peaches, Summer’s Golden Gems. Or some such.
Ah, peaches. Nothing means summer quite like the sweet smell of peaches (mingle it with fresh cooked corn on the cob and the smell evokes many a happy summer dinner from my childhood.) I love the flavor of fresh peaches, really ripe fresh ones – not ones that were picked green and shipped hard, those get mealy and horrible before they get ripe and sweet – but don’t really like the fuzz. I know, I know, the fuzz is part of what makes a peach a *peach*. And some people love the fuzz, I know that, too. But I just don’t like it. So I peel them. Luckily really fresh, really ripe peaches peel as easy as bananas. It is the hard ones that need either blanching and shocking or a very sharp knife to peel without losing half the fruit. Those same really fresh, really ripe peaches are best eaten as is, maybe adorned with a little splash of cream but certainly not needing baking, saucing, grilling, pickling, marinating, poaching, or otherwise treating. But, let’s just say, you have too many peaches to eat out of hand, what do you do with them before they get all mushy and become nothing better than compost? Then comes in the freezing, pickling, jamming, pureeing, preserving. Try this recipe for quick peach pickles. They will be good in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Tangy Pickled Peaches
- 1 lb peaches, peeled and pitted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 10 black peppercorns
Bring all the ingredients except the peaches to a boil on the stove in a stainless steel pot. Cook for 5 minutes then add the peach slices. Allow to cook, not boiling so hard as to break the peaches, for another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly. Pour into jars, allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Eat the next day. Yum. A word about pickling. If you use fruits and vegetables that aren’t very good quality you will get pickles that aren’t very good quality. Start with good, fresh produce. Do not use peaches that are soggy, squishy, moldy, badly bruised, or otherwise not in good shape. Use those ones to make peach butter (well, not the moldy ones, obviously.) Recipe to follow another day when I do not have a perfect peach looking me in the eye, ready to eat. Cheers.