Makes 3 Quarts
Some folks say that Picked Peaches are one of those things that you either love or you don’t. Well, we’re not so sure we agree with that. We like to think if you don’t love them, you just haven’t had these! Once made, they’ll keep for months and are excellent eaten right out of the jar, but make an outstanding accompaniment to grilled and roasted meats – especially ham. We also like using the peaches and pickling syrup in salad dressings, drizzled over ice cream and even in shrub cocktails.
14 Fresh Georgia Peaches
2 tablespoons ascorbic acid to prevent browning (optional)
10 cinnamon sticks, divided
½ tablespoon whole cloves, plus additional for jars
½ tablespoon whole allspice
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
2 ½ cups white vinegar
2 cups water
3 ½ cups sugar
Start by peeling peaches. Place a pot of water on high heat and bring to a boil. Cut a small “X” in the skin of the bottom of each peach. Place the peach in boiling water for 10 seconds before removing and placing in a bowl of ice water. Continue with all peaches. In another bowl, add ascorbic acid (Fruit Fresh) to 6 cups cold water to prevent browning. You may also use 4 tablespoons of lemon juice or crush a few chewable vitamin C tablets in place of ascorbic acid. Using a pairing knife, peel away the skin of the peach. Cut in half, remove the pit and place the peaches in the bowl of water to keep them from browning. Repeat process until all peaches are peeled and pitted.
Tie the cinnamon, cloves and allspice up in a cheesecloth and place in a large saucepan. Add apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, sugar and cardamom. Place over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes to infuse the spices into the liquid. Increase heat to high, bring the syrup to a rolling boil and remove from cooktop.
One at a time, remove peach halves from bowl of water and place into the hot pickling syrup. Once all peaches are in the pot, cover and return to the cooktop over low heat. After 10 minutes, increase temperature to medium-high and cook for an additional 5 minutes – or until the liquid comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, sterilize your jars and lids according to manufacturer instructions. After peaches have rested, use a slotted spoon to carefully remove them one at a time and place in prepared jars. Add two cinnamon sticks and 6 whole cloves to each jar. Fill each jar with the remaining pickling syrup, leaving ½ inch of space at the top of the jars. Using a clean damp cloth, wipe the top rim of the jars to remove any fruit or syrup. Place lids on jars and process in a water bath or pressure cooker. Follow the instructions of your jar manufacturer to ensure proper canning.
Excess pickling syrup can also be bottled and canned or refrigerated for use in dressings and cocktails.
For a printable PDF, click here!