Pickled Peaches

“Pickled peaches?” you ask. “Best thing in the world!” answers my friend Emily. “Doesn’t everyone eat them?” Asks my cousin Max. Well, not quite everyone.

I grew up with them as the last vestiges of the summer harvest, tasted at Thanksgiving as a contrast to the full, hearty plate. And of the hundreds of dishes of my Grandma’s that I absolutely love and crave, this just might be number one.

The wonderful thing about my Grandma Harriet is that she didn’t learn how to cook until she married my Granddad. As a child, she and her parents lived with her grandparents, where the cook made the meals and my Grandma was never allowed in the kitchen. She courted my Granddad with chocolate pie, one of three dishes she’d been taught at Smith. When she received a copy of The Joy of Cooking for her wedding,

When my brothers and I were younger, we’d sit at our Grandma’s kitchen table poking cloves into fresh peeled fruits while she sterilized jars and boiled the vinegar syrup. By the end of the day, her kitchen counter was aglow with jars of otherworldly orbs.


On the day of pickling, Thanksgiving always seemed far too long to wait. But waiting gives the cinnamon and cloves enough time to infuse into the tart and sweet peaches. By November, their cold flesh is like an ice cream-fruit hybrid from heaven.