Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle


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New Years Resolutions and 2014 Recap

OK, it’s been a really long time since I’ve written. Not just for the blog, but anything! I’ve been at my “new” job for 9 months now, so I guess it’s time for me to stop feeling like it’s a temporary schedule. My job (see this post here) is wonderful, but my commute is making it so that I have less time at home, and less energy, to do the things I enjoy. Things like cooking, canning, seeing friends, and writing.

Well, that needs to stop. So what if I’m in the car 3 hours a day? I have time on the ferry to write, and time on the weekends for cooking projects. I need to stop spending my weekends in non-stop “catch up on sleep” mode. The New Year is a classic time to make changes and recommit to the life I want to live. My resolution is to stop letting my commute rule my life. So this post is my first in months. Soon I’ll be starting projects again, but for now I’ll just catch up on what I’ve missed.

Canning Projects

I didn’t make nearly as many canning projects this year as the last – mostly due to time constraints. The recipes I took on were mostly repeats – things I know I like and will eat.

Leeks Vinaigrette, or oil-preserved leeks. Great as a side or on salads.

Leeks Vinaigrette, or oil-preserved leeks. Great as a side or on salads.

Oil preserved Leeks (called “Leeks Vinaigrette” but it is not salad dressing, which I would actually love to make sometime) with the Ladies Preservation Society

Strawberry Jam (here’s a post on this from a couple years ago)

Raspberry Jam

Raspberry jam (left) and strawberry jam (right). I made these a week apart in a very productive moment last summer.

Raspberry jam (left) and strawberry jam (right). I made these a week apart in a very productive moment last summer.

Apricot Jam (this one was new – made with my friends in the Ladies Preservation Society – and was really fun. The resulting jam is a little tart for my taste, but has great apricot flavor.)

Peach Jam – we took a field trip to the Yakima farmer’s market and bought peaches there. Yakima is about 2-3 hours east, and is the heart of farm country in WA. Their farmer’s market is basically heaven.

Bread and Butter Pickles (recipe here)

Concord Grape Jelly – my neighbors have a grape vine that produces more fruit than they can use, so they put out a call to the neighborhood to come take them. 1 hour later I was washing and stemming 9 lbs in my giant sink. I made juice, and the next week made it into jelly. Next year (they say I can use their grapes again next year!) I’d like to try grape jam. I think it’ll be a little more work, but jelly is still kind of weird to me. I think I have enough photos to make this one into its own post, actually. Maybe I’ll do that soon.

Concord grapes picked moments before. These were turned into jelly.

Concord grapes picked moments before. These were turned into jelly.

Geez – is that all I did? I’m sure there were a few others, but these are the bulky items. See what I mean? I’ve really got to get back into the swing of things. I had enough jam for Christmas and hostess gifts this year, but only just.

So, onward, upward, and into the garden! Next week I’ll write about the projects going on in our little garden. Happy New Year!


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Lemon Curd with the Ladies’ Preservation Society

Waffles served with butter, lemon curd, and a little powdered sugar. Pure heaven!

Waffles served with butter, lemon curd, and a little powdered sugar. Pure heaven!

Oh yes. This is a real winner, let me tell you. You know the delicious lemony part of a lemon bar? That’s what this is, but you can put it on anything! Waffles! Popovers! Ginger snaps! Toast? I’m sure you could, but it might be a bit much for me, it’s quite sweet and rich.

We made this lemon curd for LPS in March (once again, I’m super behind.) It is a perfect recipe to do with friends. It’s one of those recipes (like many I post on here) that isn’t hard but has a lot of little steps. It’s great having helpers! And, frankly, I love sharing it at the end. The recipe is for freezing or refrigerating, not canning, so there’s a limited amount you can keep yourself.

Zest-ah zest-ah zest-ah!

Zest-ah, zest-ah, zest-ah!

We took the recipe from Saving the Season’s lime curd recipe, but we left out almost all the aromatics and spices, except ginger (and replaced lemons for limes, obviously.) Here’s our version:

Lemon Curd

Makes 6 quarter-pints

1 lb lemons
1 inch ginger root – peeled and chopped into large chunks
5 egg yolks
1 ½ cup sugar
2 sticks (8 oz) chilled unsalted butter, cut into chunks

The lighting was really cool back in March, and I just liked the way this lemon was backlit.

The lighting was really cool back in March, and I just liked the way this lemon was backlit.

Zest the lemons, to get about 3 Tbsp of zest. Juice the lemons, to get about ¾ cup juice. Strain. Combine zest, juice, and ginger in a bowl.

Juicing the lemons. After this, pour through a sieve, to remove seeds and pulp.

Juicing the lemons. After this, pour through a sieve, to remove seeds and pulp.

Using a double boiler on medium heat (I use a glass bowl over a pot of water), whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk in the mixture of lemon and ginger. Add the butter, and whisk, one piece at a time, until melted.

 

Ok, here we go. This part took the longest for sure, I'd say at least a half hour. You have to melt all the butter slowly, then cook for 10 minutes. But I'd say it took more like 15-20 for us to get to the consistency recommended.

Ok, here we go. This part took the longest for sure, I’d say at least a half hour. You have to melt all the butter slowly, then cook for 10 minutes. But I’d say it took more like 15-20 for us to get to the consistency recommended.

Stirring constantly, cook the curd for 10 minutes in this way. (Don’t let the curd boil, or the eggs will curdle. If that happens, pull off of heat and whisk vigorously.) The curd is done when it is as thick as heavy cream and coats a wooden spoon. Or, use a candy thermometer and cook until it is 170. You can also test the consistency by testing on a frozen plate. I think we got impatient on all these fronts so ours is a little runnier than may be ideal, but it’s still quite wonderful.

Filling jars.

Filling jars. Also – you can tell from the background this was Manhattans night. I had just been offered a job, so we were celebrating! Sadly, I was long since out of the brandied cherries I made last summer. I’ll be making those again as soon as I see cherries in the market!

Pour the curd through a fine sieve into a measuring cup, or something else you can pour from (this will make it easy to fill the jars.) Pour into 6 quarter-pint jars, or 3 half-pint jars that have been sterilized and kept warm. Seal and cool on the counter overnight. Then, store in the fridge and use within a month, or freeze for up to a year.

Now, how to use it? Well, my favorite thing was actually on waffles. It turned an already treat-like breakfast into straight-up dessert.

We dipped ginger snaps into the warm curd for an after-project treat. Nice!

We dipped ginger snaps into the warm curd for an after-project treat. Nice!


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Spicy Pickled Carrots with the LPS

These are my taco truck's spicy carrots. Oh heavens, they are phenomenal. I've been trying to copy them for years now.

These are my taco truck’s spicy carrots. Oh heavens, they are phenomenal. I’ve been trying to copy them for years now.

I keep trying to make spicy pickled carrots. I just haven’t found the perfect recipe yet, but I feel like I’m honing in on something. I’m learning, at any rate, and it’s totally fun to keep trying! I think pickled jalapeños and carrots was the first thing I ever pickled… maybe? It’s been awhile.

I don’t know if you go to taco trucks, but they are the original food trucks in Seattle, and have been around forever. We used to hit Tacos El Asadero on Rainier about once a week for a great cheap meal. We’re a little further away now, but we still go just about every month.

Beautiful fresh carrots. Too fresh for this recipe, if you can believe it! They were thin and softened quite quickly. Ahh well...

Beautiful fresh carrots. Too fresh for this recipe, if you can believe it! They were thin and softened quite quickly. Ahh well…

They have the most delicious pickled carrots. They’re served free as a condiment, next to the limes and jalapenos and radishes. We try to put them in every bite of burritos. But lately they’ve been making them too spicy for me! I’m not one to shy away from spice, but I do prefer it medium hot rather than hot-hot. And lately they’ve been hot-hot. So I’d love to be able to make the same recipe but just leave a few of the peppers out. Then I could have spicy pickled carrots whenever I want! On burgers? On salads? In a quesadilla? Yes yes yes!

The pickling liquid: cider vinegar, water, and spices.

The pickling liquid: cider vinegar, water, and spices.

So this recipe was taken from a friend’s book, Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry, and we made it for LPS in February. I like the flavor ok, and I think the heat is just about right. There is too much cinnamon, though, and it takes away from the carrotiness. Also, we were using small local fresh carrots, and those took less time to cook than suggested, so they are pretty soft. I like a good firm carrot, almost crunchy, in my burritos!

Prepping the jars - in sterile and still hot jars, add garlic, thyme, and red chili flakes.

Prepping the jars – in sterile and still hot jars, add garlic, thyme, and red chili flakes.

Spicy Carrot Pickles
Makes 4 pint jars

2 pounds carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
5 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
8 dried hot chilies, stemmed
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 sprigs thyme, kept whole
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

Peel or scrub the carrots, cut into sticks 4″ long and about 1/2″ thick.

Combine the vinegar, 1 C water, the salt, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until just crisp-tender. The recipe says 8-10 minutes, but that was much too long in my opinion. Remove carrots from water. We weren’t quite ready with the jars here, so I the carrots cooked even longer! Not cool.

Loading carrots into jars. This is hot business!

Loading carrots into jars. This is hot business!

While the carrots are cooking, divide the chilies, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns among the jars. Put the still-hot carrots into the jars (do not pack them too tightly) and fill the empty spaces loosely with slivers of onion. Ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace at the top. Use a chopstick to remove air bubbles around the inside of each jar. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel, then put a lid and ring on each jar.

Add onions and pickling liquid, leaving 1/2" head space.

Add onions and pickling liquid, leaving 1/2″ head space.

Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes. Remove the jars and cool on the counter overnight.

As I said, this isn’t quite what I was looking for. But it’s still tasty, and very very pretty! I’ll keep trying, but in the meantime, enjoy!

Gorgeous! Here they are ready to be sealed and processed.

Gorgeous! Here they are ready to be sealed and processed.


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Ladies’ Preservation Society Pickles Beets!

Pickled beets, canned and ready for storage.

Pickled beets, canned and ready for storage.

I have made pickled beets many times but never canned them to store. I’ve always just made refrigerator pickled beets. The recipes aren’t different, much, but whenever you can something it’s best to go with a real recipe from a trusted source, so that you know the acids and sugars are in balance and will properly preserve your food. My other recipe is sort of made up, which is just fine if you are refrigerating and eating within a few weeks.

Trim leaves to an inch or so, and wash the beets well.

Trim leaves to an inch or so, and wash the beets well.

For the Ladies’ Preservation Society in January, we pickled beets. I didn’t write about it sooner because we had to wait 3 weeks for them to be ready. Then, you know, I got a case of the lazies and haven’t been writing much this winter.

Cooking the beets. 7 pounds of beets is a lot!

Cooking the beets. 7 pounds of beets is a lot!

But boy oh boy, eating beets and cottage cheese for lunch is one of my favorite things. It’s nostalgic and really wonderful. Do you ever eat cottage cheese this way? I know people seem to fall on one side or the other, eating cottage cheese with sweet foods (like canned peaches – which I made but forgot to blog about!) or savory, like with salt and pepper. Eating it with pickled beets is the perfect marriage of the two sides. That’s me; unable to choose a side so I tiptoe down the middle. Yup!

After beets have cooled enough to hold, remove the skins. Here my friend is rubbing the skin off with a paper towel.

After beets have cooled enough to hold, remove the skins. Here my friend is rubbing the skin off with a paper towel.

We got the recipe from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich (another Christmas present!) and I really like it. I don’t know if it’s as great as my mom’s recipe, but what could ever be? Next time I make them I might reduce the allspice or cloves slightly to let the beet flavor shine.

This little beet was shaped like a heart! Also - check out those pink fingers. I made my friends do all of the peeling and slicing because I had an interview the next day, and beets can stain for a day or so. For that reason, wear dark colors or an apron.

This little beet was shaped like a heart! Also – check out those pink fingers. I made my friends do all of the peeling and slicing because I had an interview the next day, and beets can stain for a day or so. For that reason, wear dark colors or an apron.

Here’s the recipe: (Makes 7 pints)

7 lbs beets, cleaned (ok to leave on roots and a little of the stem, you’ll cut those off later.)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
1 Tbsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 quart cider vinegar
2 cups water

Sliced beets.

Sliced beets.

Cover beets with boiling water, in a large pot. Cover and return to a boil, then boil for 15 to 35 minutes, until they are just tender – this will depend on the size of the beets. They will be processed for 30 minutes later, so you don’t want them soft at this stage. Drain and then cover with cold water, to stop them cooking.

Filling jars with beets, using tongs. A wide mouth funnel would be useful, but we found we didn't need it.

Filling jars with beets, using tongs. A wide mouth funnel would be useful, but we found we were fine without it for this step.

When the beets are cool, remove their skins. This can be done by rubbing with a paper towel, or a vegetable peeler, or a knife. Some beets will peel easily, some won’t.

Slice all the beets ¼” thick.

Tie up all the spices in a cheesecloth bag.

Tie up all the spices in a cheesecloth bag.

Tie the spices into a cheesecloth bag. Put this into a pot with both sugars, salt, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. (The smell of boiling vinegar is very harsh! I recommend leaving the room while it boils, or opening windows and doors.)

Cooking the vinegar, water, sugar, and spices.

Cooking the vinegar, water, sugar, and spices.

As the liquid is simmering, pack the beets into sterilized pint jars. When the liquid is done cooking, pour over the beets, leaving ½” headspace from the top of the jar. Run a chopstick around the inside of the jar, to remove air bubbles. Add more liquid if needed. Wipe rims, put on lids, and process the jars for 30 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Jars filled with beets, ready for the hot vinegar mixture.

Jars filled with beets, ready for the hot vinegar mixture.

After processing for 30 minutes, let cool. Label, and store. They need to sit at least 3 weeks before they are ready to be eating. The waiting is the hardest part, as they say. I like to label the lids with the “open on” date so I can remember.

At last, after at least 3 weeks of waiting, I was able to have beets and cottage cheese for lunch. Yay!

At last, after at least 3 weeks of waiting, I was able to have beets and cottage cheese for lunch. Yay!


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Pomegranate Raspberry Jam with the Ladies’ Preservation Society

Mmm... pomegranates are a great fall treat! Here's a way to make them last throughout the year.

Mmm… pomegranates are a great fall treat! Here’s a way to make them last throughout the year.

A few weeks ago we held our last meeting of the Preservation Society for 2013. With the holidays and busy schedules, it just didn’t make sense to meet in November or December. We’ll be picking up again in January. A new year! New things to can!

We wanted to make something “seasonal,” which is sort of hard in the late fall. I thought about canning cranberry sauce, and will still probably try to do this soon. A friend suggested we do something with pomegranates. What a cool idea! I love them, and they really are a special fruit this time of year!

Pomegranate juice. This brand is way cheaper than the well-marketed national brand, and is still 100% pomegranate juice.

Pomegranate juice. This brand is way cheaper (note, still not cheap) than the well-marketed national brand, and is still 100% pomegranate juice.

Well, it turns out the recipes we found for pomegranate jam using fresh pomegranates were a little ridiculous for a casual evening with friends. They involved either juicing the fruit or including the seeds in the final mix. What? The seeds are way too big to be spreading on toast. And then, even at a sale price of $2.50 per pomegranate, we’d be paying a lot of money for a little jam, and having to work really hard for it. BUT feel free to do that. I read you can juice a pomegranate just like an orange: cut in half and squeeze. Have you tried that? I’m curious if it works.

Smashing the raspberries.

Smashing the raspberries.

So anyway, we decided to go with bottled pomegranate juice, 100% juice of course. We added raspberries, because a recipe we saw online had that combo and it sounded great. Pomegranates are a little bit astringent, but it is easily mellowed by a fruit without any bitterness.

Stirring the jam before it boils. This is why we invite friends over, to help with the stirring!

Stirring the jam before it boils. This is why I invite friends over, to help with the stirring!

The final product is fan-freakin-tastic. It’s sweet and has a really nice texture, not as chunky as jam but not as smooth as jelly. But, I will say, even though the raspberries are only a small part of the total (less than a quarter by volume) they are the dominant flavor. I have an extra bottle of the pomegranate juice, so I will try making jelly out of it soon, and see how it turns out. But that’s a project for another day (and probably a season that’s a little less busy).

More stirring. Only now it's getting hot over by the stove.

More stirring. Only now it’s getting hot over by the stove. Look at her boil!

Recipe
Makes 3.5 pints (we used half-pint jars, and got 7)

4 cups pomegranate juice
2 pints raspberries, cleaned and smushed
¼ cup lemon juice
4.5 cups sugar
1 box (1.75 oz) low sugar pectin

This is made the same way you make any jam or jelly. Mix the fruit juices and fruit in a large, non-reactive pot. Mix the pectin with ¼ cup sugar, and add to the mix.

Stirring constantly (ish), bring to a full rolling boil over medium or medium-high heat. This took us about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining sugar, stirring constantly (for real). Bring back to a full boil, and then continue to boil vigorously for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Test the gel. I like the cold plate method – put a little on a cold plate and into the freezer for 2 minutes.

Filling the jars.

Filling the jars.

Let the pot sit on the counter for up to 5 minutes. This is a great time to skim the foam off the top. I like to let the jam sit so that it sets ever so slightly. Then anything suspended in it (in this case, seeds) will be evenly distributed throughout the jars, rather than rising to the top.

Pour into sterile jars, add sterile lids and bands, and process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Finished jars. You can see the jar on the right was filled while the jam hadn't set much, and all the seeds floated to the top. The jar on the left was filled just a couple minutes later, but is more uniform. No difference in flavor, obviously. You may need to stir the jar on the right after opening, is all.

Finished jars. You can see the jar on the right was filled while the jam hadn’t set much, and all the seeds floated to the top. The jar on the left was filled just a couple minutes later, but is more uniform. There’s no difference in flavor, obviously, but you may need to stir the  jar on the right once you open it.


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Tomato Jam with the Ladies’ Preservation Society

Roma tomatoes

Roma tomatoes

Last weekend, a friend and I braved the rain and drove north to another friend’s house to make tomato jam. It was a dreary day, which sort of added to the fun. Cooking with friends, taking breaks to eat wine and cheese, just feels like a very fall thing to do. And while I’ve resisted fall like crazy, it does appear to be not going anywhere (it’s actually beautiful today – a rare treat for a fall Saturday).

Dicing the tomatoes.

Dicing the tomatoes.

We wanted to do something with tomatoes, sort of a last hurrah to summer, and settled on jam because none of us had made anything like this before, and also we do love jam. We chose a recipe from Food in Jars. This recipe has holiday spices, so if you’re looking for something more straight up savory I’d recommend this one.

All the ingredients go into the pot at the same time.

All the ingredients go into the pot at the same time.

This recipe is one of those super easy yet time consuming projects. Perfect for a rainy afternoon with friends! It’s great because you don’t have to peel or seed the tomatoes. And, after combining all the ingredients, you cook for an hour and a half or more. We enjoyed wine, some good music, and a potluck lunch, while occasionally popping up to stir.

Hard to see the color - but this is bright red about a half hour into cooking. Everything is mixing together but not yet reduced.

Hard to see the color – but this is bright red about a half hour into cooking. Everything is mixing together but not yet reduced.

Aside: One of my friends has a sister that works as an ethnobotanist for a tribe in the SW, and she makes foods using traditional native ingredients. As a result, we had prickly pear jelly and wild grape jelly with lunch, what a treat! The prickly pear was especially wonderful – and it was bright pink! Perfect.

Here are the prickly pear jelly (front) and wild grape jelly (rear), which were really special.

Here are the prickly pear jelly (front) and wild grape jelly (rear), which were really special.

The tomato jam has a really interesting flavor – acidic and tomato-y, but sweet too. And it contains chili flakes and cloves, so it’s hot and heady, too.  We were brainstorming what to do with it – on toast with butter, over a mild cheese, on burgers or pork. I’m glad we made it in tiny jars, so I can experiment but still have some really cute ones for holiday parties.

Here it is after a couple hours, the color has turned to a brick red and it is reduced by about half. Looks like marinara but is totally different.

Here it is after a couple hours, the color has turned to a brick red and it is reduced by about half. Looks like marinara but is totally different.

Spiced Tomato Jam (recipe from Food in Jars, here)

5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped (no need to seed or peel, yay!)
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp red chili flakes

Here you can see the texture of the jam a little better. It is thick and chunky.

Here you can see the texture of the jam a little better. It is thick and chunky. And look at the color, so rich.

Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer (we did medium low). Cook, stirring regularly, until it reduces and gets the thickness you desire. This took us about 2 hours. We did the plate test – keep a small plate in the freezer and put the warm jam on it. Put back in the freezer for 2 minutes, and if it wrinkles when you touch it it will set into jam.

Filling the jars.

Filling the jars. We got 9 quarter pints and one half pint – so that’s about 3 pints. The recipe yield may be different based on what tomatoes you use and how long you cook them.

Remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. (Umm… I think we may have done it for 10 minutes? Whoops.)

And scene...

And scene…


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Pickled Peaches and IFBC!

Pickled peaches!

Pickled peaches!

I’ll get into pickling peaches in a minute, but first I have to tell you, I’m going to IFBC this weekend! The International Food Blogger Conference is right here in Seattle this year, and I am so excited to go! It makes me feel like a super legit blogger; I got business cards and everything.

ifbc2013

I’ve been trying to plan my weekend – I’m going to learn about food photography, get a little tech help from WordPress, taste a bunch of foods, and spend the weekend with my dear friend Kristin over at KristinPotPie. But I’m already a little torn, because there’s a session on olives at the same time as a session with a photographer from the New York Times. Tough one.

Check back soon for my impressions on the conference and maybe a few new ideas. And if you’re going, leave me a comment and I’ll look for you there.

Suncrest Peaches

Suncrest Peaches

Pickled Peaches

Ok, onto pickled peaches. For Ladies’ Preservation Society this last month, there was just going to be two of us, so naturally we thought that’d be the perfect time to take on a huge project, ha! But seriously, she and I are a little obsessive about canning. And peaches. They are about as time consuming as just about anything I’ve tried, but for some reason are still the most fun and satisfying thing to can. Maybe it’s because they’re so much work, or maybe because the end result is so wonderfully beautiful.

Peaches that have been blanched. They are now in the ice bath in a cooler. Just be ready for cold hands when you grab them out!

Peaches that have been blanched. They are now in the ice bath in a cooler. Just be ready for cold hands when you grab them out!

I grabbed this recipe from Chicken Wire and Paper Flowers (thanks Becky!). Then my friend brought a case of Suncrest peaches, and I think we used about 12 pounds of them. They were the biggest peaches ever, a teensy bit tart but still very juicy. And freestone, thank goodness.

Recipe

10 + pounds of peaches
3.5 cups white vinegar
2.5 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 tsp ground allspice
2” piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
½ tsp whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Slicing the blanched peaches. It's actually easiest to peel them first and then slice them.

Slicing the blanched peaches. It’s actually easiest to peel them first and then slice them, although the whole process is pretty messy.

Blanch the peaches for 30 seconds in boiling water, then plunge them in ice water. I got the idea to use a cooler from Becky, and it’s so much tidier than using large bowls. Next, peel, pit, and slice the peaches (we did 6ths or 8ths, these peaches were huge), and place them in cold water with a little citric acid, to prevent browning.

Look how full the bowls are! We wouldn't have had room for another peach. Here the peaches are resting in cool water mixed with citric acid.

Look how full the bowls are! We wouldn’t have had room for another peach. Here the sliced peaches are resting in cool water mixed with citric acid.

Next, combine ginger, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a cheesecloth bag. Add this to a pot with white vinegar, water, sugar, and allspice, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for another 10 minutes. Lower heat, and add the peaches (we had to do this in 2 batches) and cook until just heated through, 2-3 minutes.

Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in cheesecloth.

Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in cheesecloth.

In sterile jars, pack the peaches so that there is about an inch of headspace. Pour syrup over the peaches so that there is ½” headspace. [Question for you experts out there: Is the headspace above the liquid or the top of the fruit? Because the fruit floats, it’s always a little above the liquid.] Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Cooking peaches in the liquid (with the spices still in) for a couple minutes, just to heat through.

Cooking peaches in the liquid (with the spices still in) for a couple minutes, just to heat through. You don’t want to cook the peaches too much so they stay firm.

This recipe made 12 pints, so we each have 6 jars. Yay! I will be using mine to make a pickled peach pie, or possibly a pickled peach crumble. Either way, it will be topped with ice cream and will be fantastic.

Filling the jars with peaches.

Filling the jars with peaches, then the cooking liquid.

See you at IFBC!