My mum and dad have a peach tree in their garden and because we live in Shropshire and not Spain they are much smaller than the peaches that you buy. You have to pick them before the grey squirrels find them and then leave them to ripen in the fruit bowl. This year there has been plenty on the tree and I commandeered them to try out this way of preserving them for the winter months.
They were fiddly little blighters to peel, but they are very lovely with their pink blushing cheeks.
Once made you need to leave them for a month before eating to give the flavours a chance to mellow and pickle away. So I am looking forward to enjoying these with a slice of ham in October and I will definitely be saving some for Christmas.
Makes 4-5 jars
500ml white wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
600g granulated sugar
25g root ginger (I used about 1 teaspoon from my jar of Lazy Ginger)
8 whole cloves
½ tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
Plunge the peaches into a large pan of boiling water for one minute, drain and then cover with cold water. Peel the peaches and place in a bowl (I did this in the morning and then pickled the peaches in the afternoon and was surprised at how much blush coloured juice collected in the bowl. Make sure you pour these juices into the vinegar with the peaches).
Pour the vinegar into a preserving pan, add the sugar, the ginger and the spices and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, add the peaches and any juice collected in the bowl and turn the heat down to simmer. Simmer until the peaches are tender, which depending on the ripeness of the peaches will take anywhere from 3-8 minutes. Spoon the peaches into warm, sterile jars. Return the syrup to the heat and bring to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Carefully pour the syrup over the peaches to the top of the jars and seal with vinegar proof lids. Leave for one month before trying.