Last weekend the beau and I randomly decided to head north into western Maine towards Rangeley Lake. Albeit mildly comfortable and somewhat romantic, we decided that car camping wasn’t an option (again) and opted for tent camping instead. Unprepared, hungry, and a tad bit bored we hit the local minimart for food, firewood, and… whiskey. One would think that after several flavored alcohol fueled hangovers that I would have learned to steer clear of such evil evil elixirs… “I’ll take a bottle of that Canadian Club Dock no. 57 blackberry whiskey, please!” To say the least, only about half the bottle was consumed and I won at our rendition of whiskey cribbage.
Back in town Monday morning I found myself thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with the rest of this fire syrup?” Later that morning, while getting my muffler looked at in Barrington, NH (apparently logging an average of 300 miles/weekend on a 40yr old car is problematic), I happened to pass a “peaches” sign which led me to Union Lake Peach Orchard. I drove 5 miles off the beaten path to realize that I had no cash in my wallet and that country orchard stands don’t typically take plastic (surprise). The quick trip back to the ATM was well worth it as the 6lbs of yellow peaches that I I brought home were some of the best I’ve tasted in years. Word is that the orchard is debuting their white peaches next week!! Not only were these pickled peaches the answer to my left over whiskey woes, but I’m looking forward to cracking open a jar during the duldrums of winter hoping the blast of summer flavor will revitalize my palate and remind me of why… oh why… I moved to the frigid Northeast. Enjoy!
- 10 semi-ripe peaches (sliced)
- 2 oranges (juice & zest)
- 1 cup whiskey
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1-1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 24 cloves
- 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 pinches of red pepper flakes
- In a large-sized, non-ionized pot combine all the ingredients together excluding the peaches and the orange zest. Bring to a boil.
- Add sliced peaches to the brine pot and cook on low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until peach slices are tender.
- Remove peaches from brine using a slotted spoon (reserve brine) and pack hot, sterilized pint jars. Add a couple slices of orange zest to each pint jar.
- Remove cinnamon sticks from the brine mixture then top jars off with liquid leaving approx. 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles from jars by running a knife or skewer around the inner edge of each jar.
- Wipe rims, apply lids and rings (finger tight), and then process jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner then let cool on a folded towel for 12-24 hours.
- Store jars in a cool dry place for at least 1 week before consuming.