You can take Lisa Fain out of Texas.
You cannot take Texas out of Lisa who you might know for her Homesick Texan blog.
She shares some of her favorite home recipes and Texas lore in her first cookbook, Homesick Texan Cookbook (Hyperion) published September 13, 2011.
Like Georgia, Texas is proud of its peaches.
I chose Lisa's Habanero Pickled Peaches recipe as a celebration salvo a day before book's release.
HABANERO PICKLED PEACHES
Texas is proud of its peaches. They’re soft, juicy, floral, and sweet, and the best I’ve ever tasted. During the season, when you travel through lush Hill Country Texas towns such as Fredericksburg, or Central Texas towns such as Fairfield, you won’t be able to go a mile without seeing a roadside stand or pickup truck filled with baskets of this cherished summertime treat. We also have a peach tree at my grandma’s North Texas farm, and every July it delivers a bounty of peaches that she’ll put up for later in the year.
Pickling fruit is a common method of fruit preservation in Texas. Yes, there’s vinegar involved, as with other types of pickles. But you also add enough sugar and warm spices to give the fruit a balance of both acidity and sweetness. If you’ve never tried pickled fruit, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Pickled peaches are perhaps my favorite fruit to preserve, as I love how the peaches’ sweet juice combines with the piquant brine. Of course, I’ve added a bit of heat to my peaches, which is decidedly traditional, but I find that the habanero’s flowery notes go very well with the peaches’ floral tones.
These go well with a bowl of ice cream, on top of your morning oatmeal, with a freshly baked biscuit, or yes, simply eaten straight out of the jar.
3 pounds fresh peaches
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 habanero chile, stem and seeds removed, cut in half
2 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon whole cloves
2 quart-size jars with lids and bands
- Sterilize the jars and lids in either a pot of boiling water or dishwasher. Remove jars and lids with tongs and place on a clean surface.
- To peel the peaches, fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Cut a small x on the top and bottom axes of each peach. Carefully drop them into the pot of boiling water and let them cook for 30 seconds. Using tongs or a long spoon, remove peaches, rinse with cold water, and then peel off the skin by gently rubbing the peach. Halve and pit the peeled peaches and put them in the jars.
- In another pot, bring to a boil the cider vinegar and the sugar. In each jar add half the habanero chile, a cinnamon stick, and 2 whole cloves. When the vinegar comes to a boil, pour it into the jars and add enough water to the jar to fill (though be sure and leave ¼-inch headroom from the top). Cover and refrigerate. Will be ready in a couple of days. Will last refrigerated for 1 month.
NOTE: When you work with habanero chiles, it’s advisable to wear gloves, as they’re extremely hot. And please note that these pickles can pack some heat—if you prefer less, don’t use the entire half of the habanero in each jar.
(* From THE HOMESICK TEXAN COOKBOOK by Lisa Fain. Copyright © 2011 Lisa Fain. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.)