They are delicious with cheese and crusty bread, ham, roasted pork and chicken, in salsa and chutney, and topping vanilla ice cream.
Yields approximately 5 pints
16 cups peaches, halved, pitted, peeled (use slightly under ripe peaches for the best peach pickles)
¼ cup lemon juice
4 cups water
4 cups white vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 tablespoons pickling spices
6 tablespoons brandy
Treat peaches to prevent browning by submerging them in a mixture of ¼ cup of lemon juice to 4 cups of water. Drain.
Prepare a spice bag with a square of cheesecloth and the pickling spices. In a large stainless steel pan, combine the vinegar, sugar, and spice bag. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer to dissolve the sugar and infuse the spices. Add peaches and gently boil until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, bring peaches and syrup to a boil. Turn heat off and discard the spice bag. Stir in the brandy. Pack peaches into sterilized jars leaving ½" head space. Ladle the hot syrup into the jars leaving ½" head space. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims. Add lids as each jar is filled. Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes. Refrigerate any leftover syrup to use in ice tea or cocktails. Delicious!