Sweet `n` sour peaches

Begin by placing the sugar, lime juice, coriander seeds, pepper corns and shallots in a large sauce pan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved over a very low heat. Meanwhile, blanche and peel the peaches, cut in half, and remove the stones. Now place the peach halves in the sugar-vinegar syrup and poach for 15 min or until soft. Transfer the peaches into the warmed sterilised jar. Boil the remaining syrup rapidly until reduced by half its quantity, and pour through a strainer over the peaches. Reserve any extra syrup, as you most probably will need to top up the peaches with more syrup the next day. Seal the jar and allow to mature for 6 weeks before using.  

Sweet peaches

Before starting with the preparation of the peaches, it is important the jar is sterilised. A simple way of doing this is by placing it in a preheated oven at 120°c for at least 15 min. Place the rubber seal in hot water to become flexible. Ideally use ripe, undamaged fruit when preserving. Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 30 sec and cool down in cold water. Peel the skin off and prepare as you wish; whole, halved or quartered. When preserving peaches I always prefer preparing lighter syrup, so I like to keep a ratio of 3 is to 1 of sugar to water. Combine them together and bring them gently to the simmer. Add the peaches to the syrup and cook until soft. Using tongs, place the peaches into the hot jar. Pack the fruit until the jar is full to the rim. Next, ladle in some of the hot syrup, then slip in a long kebab stick down the sides of the jar to remove any air bubbles and quickly top up with the syrup again. Place the seal onto the jar and seal with the lid. When the jar has cooled completely, wash, dry and stick a label with the date and store until required.

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