Monday, October 9, 2017

To Pickle October Peaches


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Recipe Provenance
The following recipe comes from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations (including this one!).


The Recipe: To Pickle October Peaches 
Take 2 Doz. peaches & rub them clean & put them in a pot. take 2 pounded nutmegs, some blades of mace, whole cloves & scraped horse-radish and put into cold cider vinegar, pour it on the peaches & cover the pot close –

About This Recipe
Many recipes for pickled peaches include sugar; however, this recipe does not. The regular peach season in Maryland ends in September but this recipe is meant for peaches available in October. This is one of those times when it would have been very helpful if the recipe contained more information, such as the particular variety of peach for which it was intended. Also, it is hard to know if the lack of added sugar in the ingredient list was intended to emphasize an inherent lack of natural sweetness in late season peaches, or, reflect that the type of peach used was excessively sweet and did not warrant the addition of granulated sugar to the pickle liquid. I split the difference because I used late-season peaches I found at a local farmer's market that were neither excessively sweet, nor were they completely lacking in sweetness. 

Modern Recipe Adaptation: Pickled Peaches
Ingredients:
  • 6 Large Late-Season Peaches
  • 3 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Whole Blade Mace
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Powdered Horseradish
  • 15 Whole Cloves
Directions:
  1. Wash the whole peaches and set aside.
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan, mix together the vinegar water, and spices. Add the peaches and bring this mixture to a boil. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the peaches are soft but still hold together.
  3. Remove from the heat and transfer the peaches to a refrigerator-safe container (either a quart-size canning jar or plastic container with lid). Then, pour the hot pickling liquid over the peaches.
  4. Refrigerate the peaches. Or, you can make a larger quantity and use the hot water bath canning method to preserve them.