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Fresh sweet peaches are pickled and spiced for a real treat. These can also be made with fresh nectarines or apricots. Dip the peaches in boiling water and the skins will slip right off. Pickled peaches will need to sit 4 to 6 weeks before using, so plan well in advance for standing time.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 pounds small, firm-ripe peaches (clingstone varieties are best)
  • 1 gallon cold water mixed with 2 tablespoons each pickling salt and white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons whole cloves (about)
  • .
  • Basic Pickling Syrup:
  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 pounds sugar
  • 4 sticks cinnamon, broken and tied in cheesecloth

Preparation:

Peel peaches, then dip in water-salt-vinegar mixture to prevent discoloration; leave whole or halve but do not remove pits. Stud each peach with 2 cloves.

To make the pickling syrup, place vinegar, water, sugar, and cinnamon in a large enamel or stainless-steel kettle and bring to a boil. Add peaches, a few at a time, and simmer, uncovered, 5-7 minutes until barely tender. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and set aside while cooking the rest.

When all are cooked, bring syrup to a boil and pour over peaches; cover and let stand overnight (this plumps peaches and gives them better flavor).

Next day, wash and sterilize 10 (1-pint) jars and their closures. At the same time, drain syrup from peaches and bring to a boil; discard spice bag. Pack peaches into hot jars, then pour in boiling syrup, filling to within 1/4-inch of the top. Wipe rims, and seal. Process in a hot water bath 10 minutes. Remove jars from bath and secure seals if necessary. Cool, check seals, label, and store in a cool, dark, dry place 4-6 weeks before serving.

Yield: 10 pints (64 servings)

Recipe Source: The New Doubleday Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna (Doubleday & Company)
Reprinted with permission.

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