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Cookin' With Leo

By Leocthasme

Pickled Peaches

Well, I was sittin' on the patio the other day thinkin' of springtime an' enjoyin' a cool one along with the weather. That got me to thinkin' of all the good things that the season brings. Got to thinkin' of the bounty from the blooms of spring and how grandma used to harvest all that bounty and make goodies out of it all. I wouldn't say it was easy for her, but then she loved to grow all sort of goodies in the yard. I remember a cherry tree that I used to climb about this time of the year and pick the cherries that were beginning to ripen. And, there was an apple tree that produced a lot of mostly green apples, even though the snake had left, that were not too good to eat but made a lot of good apple pies and apple sauce. And, there was a peach tree too. The peaches on that were not the greatest either. But, they were of a size that fit nicely into a jar, and they made great pies too if enough sugar and cinnamon and butter was added.

So, after dreaming about all that good spring and summer stuff, I decided to go look into my old reliable repertoire of recipes and find the one that made those poor peaches taste like some of Eve's palate pleasing peach preserves. That was before she found the snake in the apple tree and turned her attention to green apple pie, which made her and Adam both sicker than a snake-bit blue-tick hound dog. Well, later on when Adam, who loved grapes, and of course wine, found out how to take out his vengeance on the green apples and the snake, started making apple cider and such, Eve began to experiment too with all of Adam's concoctions. And, although she never ate another green apple as long as she lived, she made great pies and preserves with all the bounty scavenged from the Garden of Eden. And, somehow Eve's recipes got passed down to my predecessors, who were an uneducated lot, to say the least. However, they carried these garden goody recipes through the ages, and of course my Teutonic and Celtic ancestors, who only robbed the rich and gave to the poor and stole the kings venison, passed them on to grandma who finally wrote them down and thus they came into my possession. So now I will share these ageless goodies with you, my devoted readers, who await, with bated breath, my contributions to society, from the ages, wherever.

So, let's get started with this recipe for spiced Pickled Peaches.
First thing you got to do is decide how much work you are willing to do. If you don't have a peach tree in the yard and you have to go to the super then you may want to get about 5 pounds of peaches. Get the cheapest ones; don't get carried away with size and eating quality. We are going to make the worst peaches taste like the best. On the other hand if you have a peach tree or if you want to get into puttin' up goodies for the next winter, then you may want to get a big box of #70 peaches. They are not big and the designation means there are at least 70 peaches in a standard 30 pound box. You can find them at the farmers market or the produce markets and are relatively cheap. This recipe will take care of 5 pounds. If you are ambitious and are going to do the backyard peach tree, or 30 pounds, then multiply this recipe by 6.

Here is what you will need to go with 5 lbs of peaches.

Reserve:

    1 whole clove for each peach
    1 piece of stick cinnamon for each jar.

Tie together in cloth bag:

    1 teaspoon whole cloves.
    oz stick cinnamon.
    1 teaspoon whole allspice.

Combine:

    1 cups apple cider vinegar (50 grain).
    cup water.
    4 cups sugar.

An' here is how we do it.

First we will slip the skins from the peaches. That was one of grandma's tricks. And, here is how she done it.

Get a big kettle or cauldron, fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Toss in a pound or two of peaches at a time, and let them boil for at least a minute or a minute and a half. Remove them with a slotted spoon. Pinch up the skin and if it comes free like a blister then you got it, just pop the fruit free of the skin. If not return the fruit to the kettle for a few more seconds.

Put the skinned fruit into ice water to cool it.
Now insert a clove into each peach.
Use a cloth bag to hold the rest of the spices (reserve a piece of stick cinnamon for each jar) and tie that up with butcher string.
Combine the vinegar, water and sugar, add the spice bag and bring this to a boil.
Add the peaches and let them boil for at least 5 minutes or until fork tender.
Place them in hot sterilized jars and drop in a cinnamon stick.
Let the liquid boil down and fill each jar.
Be sure the rims are wiped clean and seal the jars.
Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Remove and let jars cool.
When cool, check that lids are tight.

For 5 pounds of peaches you will probably need 5 quart jars. For 30 pounds of peaches you will need at least 20 quart jars.

Enjoy your summer goodies!
 

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