Do you ever get so excited to see the seasons new produce that you forget that the first harvest is usually picked a little under-ripe? Well, that’s how these pickled peaches were born! After the excitement wore off and I started thinking about what kind of deliciousness I was going to make. I realized the peaches were still hard and would probably spoil before they ripened. What to do with unripe peaches? Make pickles! Pickling the fruit not only softened them, it also brought out their naturally sweet flavor. Your peaches don’t have to be under-ripe for this recipe. It works just as well with ripe and overripe peaches.
I kept the pickling brine simple because I wanted to enhance, not cover up all the peach flavor. The brine is on the sweeter side with enough salt to balance it. The thyme and peppercorns give the pickles some earthiness. The lemon zest adds some brightness. The vanilla, well why not!
For these peaches, I kept the skin on. If you plan on storing your peaches for a long time before using them, you may want to take the skin off. The skin adds some nice texture but will get leathery if brined too long. You can always cut the skin off as you use them. But if you prefer to remove it before pickling, blanch and shock the whole peaches. To do this, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Score (cut an x) on one side of the peach. Make an ice-water bath. Plunge the peaches into the boiling water for about 10 seconds. Then, directly into the ice bath. When the peaches have cooled the skin will peel off easily, then slice and make your pickles!
- 3 peaches
- 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorn
- 5 sprig thyme
- 1/2 lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Slice peaches into wedges
- Place peppercorn, thyme, lemon, and peaches in a jar.
- Bring to a boil water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. When sugar and salt are dissolved remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Pour the brine into the jar with the peaches. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. In 3-5 days pickles will be ready to use.