Peach and mint infused vinegar

Photographer: Adam

My gran has a peach tree in her backyard, and every summer we would end up with boxes of ripe peaches landing on our kitchen bench just begging to be eaten.  Personally, I am a huge fan of stone fruit.  Peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, these flavours really epitomise summer to me.  But there are only so many peach crumbles, peaches with fresh yoghurt, peaches on your breakfast cereal, and peaches in your lunchbox that a girl can handle, so invariably there ends up being a few lonely, overripe pieces of fruit rolling round in the bottom of the box that no one is interested in.  I think most people are familiar with preserving fruit in jars, but this peach and mint vinegar is something a bit special—it’s a great way to use up overripe fruit that might otherwise end up on the compost heap, and is delicious as a fruity, tangy dressing on green salads.

Depending on how ripe your peaches are, you will end up with around half the volume of vinegar you start with as your infusion.

INGREDIENTS


1 kg (around 5 large) overripe peaches, stoned and cut into chunks
500 ml rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup mint leaves

METHOD


1. Place peaches and mint into large stainless steel saucepan and gently mash.
2. Pour over vinegar and honey and simmer gently uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
3. Cover, remove from heat and leave to cool – you can leave covered in the fridge overnight.
4. Using a stick blender, purée the mixture.
5. Strain through a sieve into a glass or ceramic bowl; this will take a coupe of hours – try not to disturb the vinegar as it sieves, as this will cause the strained liquid to go cloudy.
6. Strain again overnight through cheesecloth in the refrigerator – this will get rid of any fine solids and leave you with a translucent, peachy-coloured infusion.
7. Pour into a sterilised glass bottle.
Store in a cool, dark place and use within two months.