Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

This Is Not An Olive, But It Might Be a Really Nice Option!

Brined and cut baby peaches.
Dear Folks,

I posted about thinning our peach tree (it is that time of year), and it has always been a sad thing just because of discarding all that potential fruit.  The point is to have bigger resulting fruit and to ease the weight on the branches.

I mentioned discovering, several years ago, that these thinned baby peaches can be pickled, after reading about the tradition of Liguria, Italy to pickle baby peaches, baby almonds and similar immature fruit.  Here is the thinning and recipe post from several years ago.

This works because the pit is not fully formed when the peaches are thinned when they are 3/4 of an inch or smaller.

I tried the recommended sweet / spicy pickle and it turned out good.  I am just not a huge fan of sweet pickles.

Since I have been doing my own home lacto-fermentation (brining) of various vegetables, I thought, why not try this with the baby peaches.  It worked wonderfully well with my caper berries last spring/summer.

I am here to tell you this is going to be one of my new favorite additions to all things I would add olives or capers to!!

I have started to keep brine ready for just this kind of opportunity.  It keeps well, just remember to use a plastic lid on the glass jar because it is corrosive, it is only salt and water but still can pit any metal that is not stainless steel.

The baby peaches are bitter.  The brining removes the bitterness and makes them a salty, crunchy olive-like vegetable.

To make the brine:

1 cup of water
2 teaspoons of kosher or sea salt (NOT iodized salt)

Bring the water to boil or very hot and dissolve the salt in it.  Make sure the salt is completely dissolved.  You can use immediately after it is cooled or just store in your pantry for later use.

The easiest way to brine is to have two mason jars of different sizes, example:  one quart jar and one 8 oz jar.  The smaller jar will fit into the larger one to weigh down the peaches.  This is important at they need to be kept under the liquid at all times while fermenting.

Mine took 5 days.

Make sure the jars are very clean, have a dish towel or piece of plastic wrap handy (this will keep the dust out while it is fermenting). [PICTURED is a jar of my sauerkraut to illustrate the jar-in-a-jar with plastic cover..]

1.  Rinse the baby peaches and remove the stem.
2.  Fill the jar with the peaches, up to the shoulder and cover by a 1/2 inch with the brine. Fill the smaller jar with about 1/4 cup of water (for weight) and insert into the brining jar.  Place on a plate in case any liquid spills over.  Lightly cover with the towel or plastic   Place on your counter away from drafts and the stove/oven - this keeps the temperature constant.

You may see bubbles of gas escaping - this is part of the process.  Taste after 5 days, if you still detect bitterness let them sit longer.  Once they are were you like them, remove the small jar and cover, cap with a plastic lid label and store in the refrigerator.  They will last for months and months.

If you have to thin your trees I hope you give this a try to make removing all those baby fruit your gardening skills helped grow, a win/win -- bigger resulting juicy peaches and a tasty addition to your pantry.



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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