"Put up" some of the South's favorite fruit now so you can enjoy it all year round.
Summertime in the South means plenty of fresh fruit picked at its peak. Since we all know fruit doesn’t stay fresh for very long, many Southern homemakers turn to the art of preservation to keep some of that summer goodness around all year. You can find pickled okra skewered atop a Bloody Mary drink or stuffed with pimiento cheese. Everything from tomatoes to jalapeños can be pickled and used to elevate a salad, a cocktail, or a sandwich. If you grew up with a cut glass bowl of pickled peaches on the Thanksgiving dinner table, you already know how delicious and versatile they are. Don’t let peach season slip away without trying your hand at pickling one of the South’s favorite fruits.
For an easy, small-batch recipe without the traditional water bath, try these Pickled Peaches, ideal for serving with a cheese plate. Save any leftover brine and add a splash to vinaigrettes or iced tea.
If you like pickling the old-fashioned way, try this recipe for Peach Pickles from our July, 1999 issue, sent to us from Mrs. Curtis Lowery of Greenville, Alabama.
Yield: 3 Quarts
4 cups water
6 lbs of peaches
1 quart white vinegar (5% acidity)
6 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Remove from heat; add peaches, and let stand 4 to 6 minutes. Drain peaches; cool and peel.
2. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in Dutch oven; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Place cloves on a 6-inch square of cheesecloth; tie with a string. Add spice bag and cinnamon to vinegar mixture.
4. Add half of peaches, and cook 10 minutes. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining peaches.
5. Bring syrup to a boil and remove from heat.
6. Add peaches; cover and let stand 8 hours. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and pack into hot jars. Remove and discard spice bag and cinnamon sticks.
7. Bring syrup to a boil; pour over peaches, filling to ½ inch from top. Remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims. Cover at once with metal lids; screw on bands.
8. Process in a boiling-water bath 20 minutes.
WATCH: Bogart's Fire and Ice Pickles
Pickled peaches aren’t just for the holiday table. Spoon them over hot fried chicken or pulled pork, dice and mix with almonds to garnish a salad, or stir into Greek yogurt.