Pickled Peaches

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12 small peaches, peeled with 4 cloves per peach
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3 large cinnamon sticks

(Makes 3 pints)

Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach with a sharp knife and blanch in batches in a large pot of boiling water for 10–15 seconds.

Transfer the peaches to a large bowl of ice water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the peaches, then halve them lengthwise and pit. Toss the peaches with the sugar and chill, covered, for at least 8 hours.

In a large stockpot, mix the vinegar and cinnamon sticks, with the peaches and their accumulated juices. Bring to a boil over moderate heat.  Skim off the foam. Reduce the heat and simmer until the peaches are barely tender, 3 minutes or so.

Divide the peaches and cinnamon sticks among the prepared jars. Return the peach-cooking liquid to a boil, then pour into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top.

Wipe off the rims of the filled jars with a damp kitchen towel, place the lids on the jars, then firmly screw on the rings. Put the sealed jars on the rack of the canner and, if necessary, add enough hot water to cover the jars by 2 inches.

Boil the jars for 20 minutes, covered, then transfer to a towel-lined surface to cool. The jars will seal as they cool.

After the jars have cooled for 12–24 hours, press the center of each lid to check that it’s concave and that a vacuum has formed and they are sealed.  Store in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.

Place any jars that haven’t sealed in the refrigerator and use them first.

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