Growing up in Ag Country, California Peaches and Summer are synonyms for one another. I remember going out to our friends orchard, climbing to the tops of the trees that the workers had missed and bringing down the sun burned fruit. It was too ripe and red to sell in the markets... but we knew the truth: these were the best peaches. We would come home with a giant crate of big beautiful peaches. We would start out at the sink... that would last a few days. But then they would start to get too ripe and then the mad dash to can and process this succulent representation of summer would ensue.
For the following three days we would be up to our elbows in peach fuzz, peeling and slicing the fruit. We never even made syrup to can the fruit in. They were so juicy that we would just squish as many slices into the jars as we could fit and pop the lids on. For the remainder of the year we would pull out a jar, admire the summer sunshine glowing from within and then POP! We whipped up pies and cobblers and crisps or just ate them right out of the jar. There never seemed much of a reason to stray from the basic peach recipes. When the produce is perfect you have to let it shine.
Alas, moving to Mexico I do not have my usual source of summer divinity. And for the first couple of years I have to admit that I avoided eating the peaches. Because those firm, tennis ball sized fur balls did not deserve to be called peaches in my book. They were criminal!
When I finally tasted them I learned to appreciate the firm flesh in a different way. It was all the flavor packed into a tiny package. So this year, our third year in Mexico, when a friend said that she had a tree dripping with fruit I found myself saying "load me up!" Now I have a giant bag of Golf Ball sized fruit and the only thing I can think of is how in the hell am I going to get that firm flesh off of those tiny pits!?!?!?! Boris had some lovely ideas on poaching that set my mind at ease... until I started obsessing about what recipe would be worthy of all the effort?
Peach Jam seemed an obvious choice, since I make all of our jams. But I just bought 2 kilos of Strawberries at the Tianguis and really had my heart set on Strawberry Jam.
Of course I headed straight to Pinterest!
I hit the blogs: they had ample choices and variations for all the Sweet traditions and even a few salad ideas! Here, here and here.
Finally, I arrived at my all time favorite blog; Dash and Bella. There, I drooled over a Grilled Plum and Lemon Ricotta Toast I knew I had to do something savory with my tiny peaches!
Back to the families stash of secret recipes, something I had not tried yet but my aunt and mom reminise over and over again. Pickled Peaches...say what?!?!?! I had to try it.
Served best over Natural Yogurt with a drizzle of honey. This is one odd recipe that you will certainly want to try before the summer is over.
Pickled PeachesIngredients:2 pounds small peaches
1 stick cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
3/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup Vinegar
Peel peaches. Treat to prevent darkening. Tie spices in a spice bag. Combine spice bag, sugar and vinegar in a large sauce pot; boil 5 minutes. Drain peaches. Cook drained peaches in boiling syrup until they can be pierced with a fork, but are not soft. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 12 to 24 hours in a cool place. Bring to a boil. Remove spice bag. Pack peaches into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Ladle hot liquid over peaches, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 20 minutes in a boiling-water caner.