Pickled Peaches

I’ve got Georgia on my mind, well peaches that is. There are road signs scattered throughout the freeway here in Florida screaming “Fresh Georgia peaches, exit now!” I’m seeing bins filled to the top at the Publix as low as $0.88/pound just for peaches. If that’s not my sign to buy peaches and do something with them then I don’t know what is!

Peaches are certainly at the top of my list for favorite fruits to eat. Not only do peaches have the capability to pair with just about anything in cooking from bourbon and chili peppers to creams and vinegars but there are many different recipes and techniques you can use to cook with them. When I think of peaches the first thing that comes into my head is cobblers followed by ice cream. I get excited just thinking about what recipe I can come up with next using peaches as the main ingredient. I prefer to eat my fruit fresh. The last time I purchased fruit in a can was at least 10 years ago. There is 1 exception to this, Greenbrier peaches. When I worked at the Greenbrier in West Virginia last year I started working in the pantry for a few months just to get my feet in the water before diving onto a hot line I had no experience with. One of the menu items that was a well liked favorite was the peaches. I didn’t understand why because they came straight out of a can that was kept frozen and thawed out the day of service. My supervisor assured me that I had to try one peach and I would understand the enigma. Mind blown. I still to this day don’t know what it is about those canned peaches that have become a historic item on the Main Dining Room menu but I do know that those peaches make damn good peach milkshakes with peach ice cream of course, and excellent smoothies.

With peaches being in my budget, which makes me a very happy girl, I’ve been able to have them on hand as a staple for the moment. Today I decided I wanted to do something with peaches I haven’t done before. One thing that came into my mind was pickling. I’ve never pickled fruit before but i see a lot more blogs where people are doing just that. The last fruit related thing I came across that seemed bizarre to me was pickled watermelon rind. I’ve always thrown that part away but if you think about it in a smarter sense it could be a good way to save on food cost. A good way to get the most out of your product before tossing it. Needless to say that project is on my list of things to try, be on the look out for that post in the near future. The original recipe made 4 quarts, I only needed enough for one jar so I cut back on the recipe by half.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

-2 Peaches, peeled, and cut

-1 Cup Granulated Sugar

-1 Cup White Vinegar

-1 Cup Water

-2 Cinnamon Sticks

-2 Star Anise

Preparation:

-Combine the sugar, vinegar and water in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

Pour liquid over the peaches to 1/2 inch from the rim. Put one cinnamon stick into jar. Wipe the rims with a clean dry cloth, and seal with lids and rings. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to seal.

<–Have a hot water bath waiting as you begin the pickling process.

-Let sit in refrigerator at least 4 days before trying.

Enjoy!

**Note: If your peaches aren’t quite ripe you can cook them in the vinegar solution, after your boiled that for 10 minutes, until tender. Spoon peaches into a jar first and then add the liquid.

-Cloves also work well for this recipe instead of using Anise.

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Spiced Strawberry Jam

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This recipe was published last year but I added a few changes to it and updated the photos. This is one of my favorite ways to utilize strawberries during their peak season.

If you read my post about pickled vegetables, then you should be familiar with my liking for preserving food. I didn’t fathom just how simple canning something is. Since I was constructing strawberry recipes I decided to go ahead and produce jam. Its simple to make and another great staple to have on hand in your refrigerator.

With no more than 3 simple steps and 30 minutes you can have fresh strawberry jam which is a lot betterΒ  and cheaper than buying it from the store. You can also use mixed berries or peaches as well for this recipe.

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Mise en Place:

-2 Cups prepared fruit (For this recipe I used 1 pint of fresh whole strawberries with the stems removed.)

-2/3 Cup Granulated sugar

-1 Cinnamon Stick

-2 Cloves Allspice

-1 Teaspoon Whole Black Peppercorns

-2 Tablespoons Pectin (found in the baking isle by the sugar in grocery stores)

-1 Mason Jar or other freezer friendly container

 

Method of prep:

-In a small bowl crush strawberries using a potato masher (Use the head of a whisk if you don’t have a masher and crush as if you were using a mortar and pestal)

-Pour mashed berries into a small sauce pot along with spices and place on the stove over medium heat. Allow berries to cook down for 20 minutes over a low simmer, stirring often.

-Add in sugar and mix until dissolved.

-Taste and adjust sugar if needed.

-Allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

-Remove from heat and pour into mason jar. Let cool in the refrigerator before covering.

-Cover and keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator or 1 year in the freezer.

Enjoy!

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In a pickle

If you enjoy pickles you might also appreciate pickled vegetables. Pickled vegetables have become likable amongst many people over the past few years in salads, as garnishes, a side item, and even an accessory to menu items. Pickling is a way of preserving food in a brine commonly made up of salt, water, and an acidic solution, mainly vinegar. This method is used for the fact that it can safeguard perishable food for months.

The last few restaurants Ive worked at there’sΒ  been an appearance of pickled vegetablesΒ  on the menu even if it was pickled beets for a salad or pickled onions for a sandwich. Since I began working with them more I thought about making my own pickled vegetables at home so I had an acceptable snack with a salty and sour flavor to it. This recipe is easy to do and you can hold these in your refrigerator up to 1 year. You can use any vegetables you like. I would’ve included Okra and cauliflower, however there wasn’t enough room in my little jar.

To Pickle vegetables you will need:

A.) Pickling Liquid

1.) 2 Cups Water

– 1 3/4 Cups Distilled White Vinegar

– 1/2 Cup Granulated sugar

– 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

– 1 Tablespoon Pickling spice (You can make from scratch. Add in 2 bay leaves, 1 Tablespoon peppercorns, dry herbs/spices of choice.)

B.) What to pickle

-1 Each Cucumber, sliced in thin rounds

-3 Each sweet peppers, sliced into thin rings

– 12 Each Green beans

-1 Cup Dill, preferably fresh or you may use dried.

-8 Each garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin

-2 Each dried red chili peppers or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

-2 Each Mason jars or storage jar of choice

How to prepare:

-Place all ingredients in a pot except for vegetables and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.

-While waiting to boil, disperse vegetables between the two mason jars.

-Add the hot pickling liquid until covering the vegetables.

-Let cool before putting the lid on. This step is important!!! If you place the lid on too soon before it cools you risk botulism. This will inhibit the growth of bacteria. You want to avoid that!

-Cover and place in refrigerator at least 10 days before eating.

Enjoy!

– If you like gin and tonic, this spicy pickle recipe goes great with this cocktail. Simply add a little bit of the brine into your tonic class and garnish with 3 vegetables. Add a splash of hot sauce and enjoy the delicious taste of a spicy gin and tonic!! πŸ™‚