Summer Fest: Puttin’ Up Peach Pickles, Compote and More

by in In Season, August 18, 2010
Stone Fruit Preserves
Peach-Mustard Compote - Photo by Charles Masters/Food Network Magazine

I absolutely adore stone fruit, from peaches to plums to cherries to apricots to nectarines. Yes, they’re delicious in desserts (and fresh from the bag, juice dripping down the chin), but I don’t discriminate in my kitchen: I love sauteed peaches and plums on salads, peach-marinated pork chops, cherry salsa and grilled nectarines. But the peaches I dream about in August look incredibly sad (not to mention tasteless) languishing in the grocery bin in December. So this year, I’m hoarding all the fruit I can and puttin’ it up, like Grandma’s preserves — with a twist.

Summer Fest

We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

Peach-Mustard Compote (pictured above)
This modern take on peach preserves gets savory notes from white wine, mustard seeds, peppercorns and fresh rosemary.  It’s the perfect sweet-savory spread for a sharp cheddar panini or an easy appetizer when paired with fresh crackers.  Use this handy how-to for step-by-step canning instructions.

Pickled Peaches
Another savory treatment: Peach pickles! Okay, they’re more like sweet pickles than dill pickles, with picking spice, vinegar, sugar and a little kick from red pepper flakes.  Pair with grilled pork and poultry for a sweet-and-sour accompaniment, mix into a rice pilaf with pistachios, or in a salad with some raw, shaved fennel.

Peach Pickles
Peach Pickles

Macerated Cherries
You may think of drying, canning or jam-making to preserve fresh fruit – how about a little booze? Macerating is simply soaking fruit in alcohol — here’s how it’s done. Dana uses cherries and bourbon in her recipe, but any combination of flavorful booze and fruit  (like peaches and Grand Marnier or apricots and dark rum) would be delicious come December atop ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Macerated Cherries
Macerated Cherries

Alton’s Fan-Dried Fruit
Alton Brown is no fan of “unitasker” kitchen appliances, so I knew I could count on him for a skip-the-food-dehydrator solution to drying my favorite stone fruits without heating up the kitchen or loading up dried fruit with lots of extra sugar. His solution: a box fan, an air filter, and a couple of days do the trick. Watch how he does it — I’ll have dried apricots, cherries and peaches in no time!

What’s on the docket for your August stone fruit save-a-thon?

More Stone Fruits With Friends and Family:

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Join the conversation on twitter at #summerfood.

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Comments (25)

  1. Dead easy and delicious Nectarine (or Peach) Souffle Pie http://thepolymathchronicles.blogspot.com/2010/08

  2. [...] Liz on Healthy Eats: Puttin’ Up Peach Pickles, Compote and More. [...]

  3. Melissa says:

    Pickled peaches how interesting!

    I cooked up some Brandied Vanilla Apricots at It's The Way She http://itsthewayshe.blogspot.com/2010/08/put-summ

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Margaret Roach , Tanya Edwards, Tanya Edwards, Liz Gray, HealthyEats.com and others. HealthyEats.com said: When life gives you peaches…make jam, compote, pickles and dried fruit! Our stone fruit preserving tips: http://bit.ly/9CczqY #summerfood [...]

  5. Jean says:

    I really need to try those Macerated Cherries.. They are so easy to make and look delicious!

  6. newRDcook says:

    So far I've pickled cucumbers and kohlrabi… who knew that peaches were next! Thanks for all these great ideas…I recently created a tomato and peach salad, and I never would have put them together if they weren't so wonderfully abundant at the farmers market: http://coldcerealandtoast.com/2010/07/30/humble-b

  7. marla says:

    Love that you are saving up your stone fruit for cooler days…great ideas here :)

    Here is my contribution to this weeks Summer Fest:

    Peach Pie Enchiladas http://su.pr/2GQnfW

  8. [...] Liz on Healthy Eats: Puttin’ Up Peach Pickles, Compote and More. [...]

  9. @MSCK_Liam says:

    Pickled peaches sound delicious, what an interesting idea!

    My Summer Fest contribution this week is peach and pecan bread pudding: http://mysocalledknife.com/2010/08/peach-and-peca

  10. Oh. My. Goodness.

    That peach mustard compote . . . with sharp cheddar and smoked ham? Maybe even on a cheese biscuit? Can you taste it? I love it – it's going on my to-make list!

    My entry into Summer Fest this week is my newest favorite cold dessert

    Nectarine Sorbetto, my version is made with raw honey http://heartlandrenaissance.com/2010/08/nectarine

    and a favorite I’m saving up for cold wintry mornings,

    Ginger Peach Pineapple Fruit Butter http://heartlandrenaissance.com/2010/07/ginger-pe

    Thank you for hosting! I can’t wait to dig into all the other recipes posted!

    Best,
    Sarah

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