Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
These go well with roasted meats, but are also great just for snacking. A lot of people like to serve these as part of their relish tray at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Make sure to use small, slightly under-ripe peaches - you want them to be hard, the opposite of what you would want in a peach you would eat out of hand. Ripe peaches will turn too mushy after you process the pickles. You will need 4 wide mouth, quart sized canning jars to put these pickles up. Preparation time includes time needed to soak peaches overnight. This makes 3 to 4 quarts, depending on the size of your peaches.
- 8 lbs small peaches
- 4 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 quart white wine vinegar
- 1 quart water
- 5 lbs sugar
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 tablespoons whole cloves
- 4 tablespoons whole allspice
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns
- 2 dried cayenne, chiles crushed or 1 teaspoon red chili pepper, flakes
- 2 tablespoons diced ginger
- Peel the peaches: I like to peel them by hand with a vegetable peeler, because it can be difficult to peel unripe peaches using the boiling water method. But if you prefer you can dip them in boiling water, plunge them in ice water, and try to slip the skins off. If the peaches are too large to fit through the mouth of the jar, cut them in half. As you peel the peaches, place them in a pot with a half gallon of water and 4 tablespoons white vinegar to keep them from darkening.
- Using a double layer of cheesecloth, make a fairly large spice bag with the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, peppercorns, chiles, and ginger.
- In a large stainless steel stock pot, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and the spice bag. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until the spices have infused the liquid. Add the peaches and simmer for 5 minutes (you may not be able to fit all the peaches in the liquid at one time - this is ok - just put as many peaches in at a time as you can, you want the peaches to be completely covered by the syrup, simmer for 5 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove them to a bowl and move on to the next batch).
- Once you have simmered all the peaches, return them all to the syrup in the large stock pot. Cover the pot and let stand on the counter overnight.
- The next day, bring the peaches and syrup to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Wash your jars - you will need wide mouth quart jars for these pickles. There is no need to sterilize the jars as you will be processing the pickles for more than 10 minutes.
- Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon, and pack in the wide mouth quart-sized jars (if you cut them in half, pack the peaches cavity-side down in the jar). Leave 1" headspace. Ladle the hot syrup into the jars, leaving 1/2" headspace (the peaches should be covered by the syrup). Use a chopstick or other thin, non-metal utensil to run around the sides of the jar to make sure there are no air bubbles left in the jar. Wipe the rims of the jars with damp paper towels to remove any syrup which got on the rims or the threads. Place the lids and the bands on the jars, just tightening the bands fingertip tight.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes, then remove and let sit, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours before checking seals. It is important to let them sit undisturbed for 12 hours because the sealing compound on the lids is still cooling and hardening, completing the seal. While the jars cool, you will hear a "plink" type sound from each jar - this is the jars completing the vacuum seal as the final air escapes the jar. After 12 hours have passed, remove the bands and check the lids - press down in the center of the lid. If you cannot push the lid down any further, the jar is sealed. If the lid "gives" a bit, and you can push it down, the jar did not seal. You could put the band back on the jar and reprocess it for another 20 minutes, but this will probably make the peaches too mushy, so I would just put it in the fridge and use it within 3 months.