What a fun assignment to choose the top five spots with pickled vegetables for Best of the Big A! I adore pickled vegetables and I owe that to my grandmother. Her pickled peaches introduced me to the world of pickles.
My grandmother had peach trees positioned about her yard, which yielded dozens of small peaches perfect for pickling. She spent hours laboring in the kitchen to can the peaches in her oversized white-speckled pot. When our family gathered for lunch at her house each Sunday, one of us was sent to the cellar to retrieve a jar of pickled peaches.
I remember studying those brown-tinged half-moons bobbing in the jars and puzzling over their sweet-vinegary flavor. I was enamored. On special Sundays, we popped open a second jar just for me.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had pickled peaches. I haven’t found them at any of the market stands selling pickled veggies and the like. So, I broke out my own oversized speckled pot — mine black — to make pickled peaches.
First, I called relatives in an attempt to locate my grandmother’s recipe, but it appears it was never recorded. I researched a number of recipes online and in cookbooks and cobbled together my own.
My first attempt at making pickled peaches went smoothly, but I definitely learned a few tricks for my next attempt. First, my peaches were not completely ripe and they were not freestone peaches (cling-free). In my impatience to pickle them, I cut the fruit away from the seed in unappealing chunks — far different from my grandmother’s perfect half moons.
To further complicate matters, I sliced the chunks hoping to make them marginally more attractive. During the cooking and canning process, however, the peaches disintegrated into even smaller chunks. Moral of the story: buy freestone peaches, wait until they are ripe and cut into those perfect half moons or large slices.
Here’s the recipe I used, which made four pint-sized jars of pickled peaches. (It would probably make more if you cut the peaches appropriately).
Have you tried pickled peaches? What is your favorite pickled item?
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.