Farm house cooking, 200pp.
by The Australian Women’s Weekly
ACP Books, Sydney, 2013
Cooking on pages 132–33
I’ve cooked from quite a few books put out by The Australian Women’s Weekly, and I couldn’t resist this one when I saw it in the public library. That’s because the recipe on pages 132–33 called for peaches. There’s a peach tree growing between our house and next door neighbour’s. They all ripen at once and we never manage to use up all the bounty.
This gem of a dish helped me to use up some, along with Meyer lemons from our own backyard. Besides page 32 didn’t have any recipes.
1.5kg (3 pounds) firm ripe yellow freestone peaches
3/4 cup (165g) caster (superfine) sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (125ml) water
3/4 cup (180ml) white vinegar
35g (1 ounce) pickling spice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Using a small sharp knife, cut a shallow cross in base of each peach. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil; cook peaches for 15 seconds or until skin just starts to split. Drain; transfer peaches to a large bowl of iced water.
Peel and halve peaches; discard skin and seeds. Place peaches in a large bowl with sugar and juice; toss gently to combine. Cover; refrigerate 4 hours.
Place peach mixture in a large saucepan with the water, vinegar, spice and salt, over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until peaches are just tender.
Using a slotted spoon, remove peaches from vinegar mixture. Pack into sterilized jars. Return syrup to the boil then pour over peaches. Seal jars while hot. Stand for at least 12 to 24 hours before using.
Store unopened peaches in a cool dry place up to 6 months. Refrigerate once opened.
How it played out
Except for having to peel all but three of the peaches because the skins didn’t slip off as easily as the recipe implied, I followed the whole process.
I was surprised by how hard it was to find pickling spice. Finally got it at the fourth supermarket I visited. I know, I know, I could/should have made it at home, but I was out of allspice berries, too, and they were just as hard to find. Perhaps the whole town is on a pickling blitz.
These peaches are fabulous—fresh or pickled. I opened a jar after three days and ate them straight from the jar. Tomorrow I’ll try them over sorbet.
Seriously, if you have access to fresh-from-the-garden peaches—or even store-bought ones—give this a try. It’s a great way to keep peaches on hand for as long as you are able to show a bit of restraint. I hope these last until the crop comes in next year, but that’s most unlikely. 🙂
And yes, I shared some of the bounty with the neighbours.