Today is my husband’s birthday and we’ve had a a magical day.
We slept in late and then went to lunch at Little Bird. We ate fresh oysters and drank martinis. We sat outside at Stumptown Coffee on Belmont and read books while sipping on americanos. We wandered about vintage stores and searched for trinkets and treasures (and wished we could afford to buy up all the beautiful vintage Pendleton blankets).
It’s been a great day! Happy birthday, Nicholas. I love you.
There’s no good way to transition from “happy birthday husband” to “boozy pickle recipe”, so I’m just going to jump right into it. Forgive me for my awkward transition.
Here’s the thing: I love peaches. And I love bourbon. With their powers combined, peaches and bourbon are unstoppable.
(Confession: I made not one – but two – bourbon & peach recipes this week.)
These “pickles” are tangy and spicy, boozy and complex. They taste nothing like any other pickle I’ve ever had (and I mean that in a good way). I made these pickles a few days ago, and ever since then I’ve been dreaming up all the things I can DO with bourbon pickled peaches. Obviously, I’ll eat a lot of them straight out of the jar. I’ll toss some of them in salads or mix them into a vinaigrette. I’ll include them on antipasti platters and charcuterie boards.
Really, though, I just want to eat a turkey sandwich with these bourbon peach pickles. I think that a turkey sandwich with these pickled peaches might be the best sandwich I can possibly imagine.
And with that, I’m off to make dinner. I think I just talked myself into making turkey sandwiches.
BOURBON PICKLED PEACHES
(Adapted from Gilt Taste)
Makes 3-4 pint jars
4-5 ripe (but firm) peaches
Zest of 1 orange, cut into wide strips, plus the juice of that orange
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar*
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or salt
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
A big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 vanilla bean, cut into 4 equal pieces
1/2 cup bourbon (or more!)
*Note: I ran out of apple cider vinegar, hence why I used white vinegar. However, I do think that this recipe would be great with all apple cider vinegar.
Equipment needed: 4 pint jars, with lids and bands. A large
Prep your jars: Wash all your jars and lids with warm soapy water. Rinse and then boil the jars and lids in a large pot for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat but leave the jars in the water until you need them.
Peel your peaches: You may blanch the peaches in boiling water to remove the skins, but I prefer peeling them with a paring knife or peeler. I happen to think it’s faster and more enjoyable. In any case, remove the peach peels and cut the peaches into thin wedges. Pack the peach slices into the jars. Tuck in the strips of orange zest.
Make your brine: Bring the orange juice, bourbon, vinegar, sugar, salt, allspice, cloves, and red chili flakes to a boil in a small saucepan. Open the vanilla bean pieces and scrape the seeds. Remove the liquid from the heat, add the vanilla seeds, and drop in the pod pieces. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes or more. (Note: I cut the mixture with a bit of water as I thought the brine was rather strong. I also added a bit more bourbon. This is a matter of personal preference, just taste and adjust to your liking!)
Pickle those peaches: Once the liquid has cooled slightly, ladle the liquid over the peaches, evenly dividing the spices and vanilla bean pieces between the jars. Allow the liquid to settle into the jars and adjust liquid levels if necessary. Make sure to cover all peaches completely with liquid. Cover the jars with the lids and close the screw bands fingertip-tight.
Storing your pickles: Allow jars to cool on a towel on the counter. Once they have cooled to room temperature, store all jars in the fridge. (The original recipe said to wait 7 days before serving these pickles, but I started eating them one day after I made them. The flavors do get stronger over time, but I thought they tasted great after one day). These should keep for 3 months (or more) in the fridge.