The author and chef Joyce Goldstein first served pickled peaches with fried chicken for a Fourth of July celebration. “Now, my family insists that we have these peaches in the pantry, because we eat fried chicken more than once a year,” she says in her new book, Jam Session: A Fruit Preserving Handbook.
Food & Drink
Makes 3 or 4 Quart Jars
Enjoy fruit at its peak—all year long
photo: Ed Anderson
12 firm but ripe peaches
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups granulated sugar
3 or 4 cinnamon sticks
10 to 12 whole cloves
3 or 4 strips lemon zest
1 tsp. black peppercorns, slightly bruised (optional)
Bring a stockpot of water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Peel the peaches by dipping them in the boiling water for a minute or two and then dunking them in the ice water. The peels should slip off. If not, use a peeler with a serrated swivel blade to remove the peels. Ideally, you can leave the peaches whole and still fit them in your wide-mouth quart jars. But if they are too large to fit through the mouth of a jar, cut them in half.
Place a baking sheet on the counter near stove. Heat a kettle of water. Set two stockpots on the stove and fill them with enough water to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Sterilize the jars in the water bath; leave in the water to keep warm.
Combine the vinegar, 1½ cups water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest, and peppercorns in a medium nonaluminum saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Decrease the heat to low and simmer the syrup for 10 minutes.
Simmer the lids in a saucepan of hot water. Place the jars on the baking sheet.
Poach 3 or 4 peaches at a time in the syrup for 2 minutes. Then, using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to the jars. Spoon the hot syrup over peaches, leaving 1-inch headspace. Distribute the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and lemon peels among the jars. Wipe the rims clean and set the lids on the mouths of the jars. Twist on the rings.
Using a jar lifter, gently lower the jars into the pots. When the water returns to a boil, set the timer for 20 minutes, decrease the heat to an active simmer, and process the jars. Turn off the heat and leave the jars in the water for 1 to 2 minutes.
Using the jar lifter, transfer the jars from the pots to the baking sheet and let sit for at least 6 hours, until cool enough to handle. Check to be sure the jars have sealed. Label and store the sealed peaches for 6 months to 1 year. Once open, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Excerpted from Jam Session: A Fruit Preserving Handbook by Joyce Goldstein
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