Wood chooses small, flat, white peaches which require no poaching. Larger peaches, whole or halved and stoned, may require about five minutes' cooking before being bottled.
This is not an alternative to poaching fruit as a compote, which takes up to 30 minutes.
Apricots, guavas or pears would work as alternatives to peaches.
1.8kg white flat peaches
600ml white wine vinegar
12 black peppercorns
4 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1kg preserving sugar
Blanch peaches for 30 seconds in boiling water. Refresh in a bowl of iced water. Peel, but don't stone.
Put the wine vinegar, spices and preserving sugar in a pan. Let the sugar dissolve. Bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes.
Pack the peaches into warmed, sterilised jars. They should come right to the top of the jar, but must not be pressed too closely together.
Remove the spices from the syrup and place on top of the peaches. Pour on the syrup up to the rim. Seal the jar. Store for at least six weeks before opening. Keep in a cool, dark place.
Note on storage: the longer the fruit is stored, the softer its texture will become. Try to use this preserve within four months of bottling.
Photo © Tom Stockhill