Turn Disappointing Peaches Into Tangy, Gingery Pickles

Turn Disappointing Peaches Into Tangy, Gingery Pickles
Photo: Claire Lower

It is now autumn in the Norther Hemisphere, and it’s time to shift gears, produce-wise. Every tomato, every ear of corn, every stone fruit that you buy is now a gamble. Sure, you might get one of the last sweet peaches or nectarines (which are also peaches), but the likelihood of that happening dwindles with each passing day.

This does not mean that you should stop trying, especially when those peaches and nectarines are on sale. Even if you find yourself saddled with a few lacklustre stone fruits, it’s no great loss — you can use those babies to make zippy, gingery pickles.

Pickled peaches are a Southern classic, but they usually involve cloves and cinnamon, which are not my favourite pickle flavouring agents (in this regard, I am deeply un-Southern). I like my pickled peaches to be acidic, gingery, and just a bit salty; and I like to eat them with buttery, rich cheeses, stewed meats, and hearty grain bowls. (I also like to splash any and all leftover brine into cocktails, as it is beautiful and delicious.)

You can, of course, add cinnamon and cloves, if you so desire. I will not stop you. All I can do is provide my basic peach pickle recipe, and encourage you to try it. To make these peachy pickles, you will need:

  • 3 peaches or nectarines, each cut into 16 slices
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 x 5cm piece of ginger, sliced thin
  • 3 bay leaves

Place the sliced peaches in three pint jars. (If you only have one peach, halve the recipe; you will have a little extra brine, but that’s ok.) Add the remaining ingredients to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 30 seconds, then pour the brine over the peaches and distribute the ginger and bay leaves amongst the jars. Loosely close the jars, and let them come to room temperature, then tighten the lids and place them in the fridge. Once cold, enjoy with cheese, meats, grains, or anything else you usually eat with pickles.

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