Old Fashioned Spiced Peaches is a retro recipe poised for a comeback. These easy classic Southern pickled peaches were always on our Thanksgiving table when I was growing up, and I think they’re one of the best ways to preserve summer peaches.
*This recipe is made with peaches generously donated by the Washington State Fruit Commission.
These spiced peaches will add a vintage touch to your Thanksgiving menu
Spiced peaches remind me of my mom. We always had spiced peaches on our Thanksgiving table and she loved them. As kids I don’t think we gave them a second thought, I probably never even ate them, at least I have no memory of it. But you don’t need to taste these peaches to get a sense of their vivid flavor because the aroma is so evocative. As an adult, I find them irresistible.
I love this recipe for the end of summer when there are still loads of fabulous peaches around, but our thoughts are starting to turn to fall. These peach preserves are a nice way to marry the two seasons and to bring that end of summer produce to our holiday tables.
Spiced peaches make really thoughtful (and unexpected) food gifts, too, so plan to can extra.
What you’ll need for canning spiced peaches
- peaches (choose ripe but still firm peaches for this recipe)
- whole cinnamon sticks and cloves
- apple cider vinegar
- a water bath canner
- canning jars (I use Weck jars)
Pro peach peeling tip:
I don’t bother with the whole boiling water/ice bath process for peeling peaches, I find it’s much easier to peel them just like I do apples, with my serrated vegetable peeler. I’m guessing that vegetable peelers have gotten much better over time, but the myth that peaches are difficult to peel has stubbornly held on.
You can slice your peaches or you can actually leave them whole, which is a traditionally Southern way to do it. Stud the outside of the peaches with whole cloves, and proceed as directed. There’s nothing more luxurious than serving whole spiced peaches at your holiday table…people will definitely ooooh and aaaah.
A note about whole spices
Whole spices are great to have around during the holidays, they can be used in lots of festive recipes like mulled wine and mulled cider. I’ve used them in my spiced cocktail cherries, too. Buy them from stores like Cost Plus World Market, and you can always order them online.
I kept these spiced peaches simple and classic with just cinnamon and cloves, but there’s no reason you can’t add other spices if you like. Try cardamom, star anise, coriander, allspice, or even a vanilla bean.
When canned your peaches will last up to a year. You can also skip the canning and keep yours in the refrigerator for up to a month, provided the peaches stay immersed in the liquid.
How to use spiced peaches
- The most popular way to use spiced peaches is at the holidays. Serve them like you do cranberry sauce, in a bowl on the table. They’ll make a deliciously colorful addition to the classic holiday dinner plate.
- Spiced peaches are wonderful with baked ham, roast pork, or fried chicken.
- Try them alongside Indian curries and biryani dishes.
- Dice them and add to grain salads or even chicken salad.
- Get adventurous and make an ice cream sundae with them!
Old Fashioned Spiced Peaches is a vintage preserve recipe poised for a comeback. These easy Southern pickled peaches were always on our Thanksgiving table.
- 3 lbs (about 7 large) peaches
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar (5% strength)
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp whole cloves
- Put the vinegar, sugar, water, and spices into a large non-reactive pan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil covered for 5 minutes, then uncover and boil a further 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile peel and slice your peaches.
- Add the peaches to the pot and bring back to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
- Fill sterile jars with the peaches and liquid, leaving 1/2 inch free space at the top. Boil in a water bath canner for 5 minutes (pint jars) or 10 minutes (quart jars) Note: if you live above 1,000 feet altitude you will need longer boiling times, see this chart
Choose ripe but firm, blemish free peaches. Discard any brown spots.
I like to peel my peaches with my serrated peeler, but if you prefer the boiling water/ice bath method, go for it. Simply immerse your peaches into boiling water for 30-60 seconds and then plunge them into ice water. The skins will slip off easily.
This recipe adapted from pickyourown.org