This section is from the book "Preserving And Pickling", by Mary M. Wright. Also available from Amazon: Preserving and Pickling: Two Hundred Recipes for Preserves, Jellies, Jams, Marmalades, Pickles, Relishes and Other Good Things.
Fruits, such as peaches, pears, plums and such like, are the most satisfactory for pickling purposes, but berries are also fine spiced. Spiced and pickled fruits make nice relishes to be eaten with meats, and the larger fruits are nice to include in the children's school lunches.
None but ripe, firm fruits should be chosen for pickling, and only the best cider vinegar. This may be weakened to suit the taste.
To each five pounds of cherries use one pint of vinegar, three pounds of sugar, and one teaspoonful each of ground cinnamon and mace, and a few cloves. Tie the spices up in a cheese-cloth bag, and allow them to simmer with the sugar and vinegar for about fifteen minutes. Add the fruit and simmer slowly for about twenty minutes. Fill into jars and seal while hot. Cherries may be stemmed and stoned for these pickles, or the stems and stones may be retained if desired.
To make these use large, firm free-stone peaches, peel and halve. In the center of each half place a bit of ginger root. Place the two halves together, and keep in place with splints from stick cinnamon. Proceed as in the above recipe only omitting the spices. The ginger root and cinnamon give the desired spiciness to these pickles. Use white vinegar or clear vinegar, and white sugar for these pickles.
Peel the sweet apples and quinces, halve and core. Simmer slowly in a little water until nearly tender; then remove and place in a spiced syrup made by adding sugar, water, and spices. Use four pounds of sugar to each seven pounds of fruit, one ounce each of ginger root, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Tie the spices in a muslin bag. Remove the quinces and apples from syrup, and fill into glass jars. Boil the syrup down a little more, pour over the fruit, and seal.
Follow the above recipe only instead of spices add a cupful of mint tea made by simmering one cupful of fresh green mint in a pint of water or a half cupful of dried mint. Strain before adding. Use one cupful of water instead of the pint.
To seven pounds of ripe figs allow three pounds of sugar, one pint of vinegar, one pint of water, and one ounce each of cloves, allspice, mace and cinnamon tied up in a muslin bag. Boil the figs in the syrup until tender and fill into jars. Boil the spiced syrup down until it has the consistency of honey, pour over the figs, and seal.
Cut the canteloupe into sections, peel, and remove the green rind and the soft inner part. Soak in a weak brine overnight. Proceed as in making the watermelon pickle, only add instead of the ginger root a teaspoonful of mace and a few cloves tied up in a muslin bag.
Blueberries are good spiced. To each quart of fruit allow about three-fourths of a pound of sugar, one-half cupful of vinegar, a teaspoonful each of cinnamon and allspice. Tie the spices in thin muslin bags and boil with the sugar and vinegar, and one-half cupful of water, add the berries, heat slowly and boil for about five minutes.
Choose nice large grapes that are not too ripe. Wash and cut off by the stem, and place in a jar.
Make a syrup of vinegar, sugar and spices, as for the other pickled fruit, and when boiling pour over the grapes in the jars and let stand until cool, then pour back in the kettle-you should have a little more syrup than will fill the jars in the first place, to allow for boiling away-and boil down until the syrup begins to thicken a little, then pour over the grapes again, to overflowing, and seal while hot.
Use the nice red-cheeked Siberian crabs for this purpose, and the large red plums. Pick over carefully, but do not peel. Prick the skins. Steam the apples and plums until tender, but keep them as whole as possible. For each four pounds allow four pounds of sugar, one pint of vinegar, and a teaspoonful each of cinnamon and allspice. If preferred one or two cloves can be stuck into each apple and plum. Simmer slowly until clear. This is excellent when served with meats.
Place six pounds of stemmed currants in alternate layers with four pounds of sugar in a preserving kettle, and let stand several hours. Turn off the juice and boil until it jellies; then add the currants, one tablespoonful of cinnamon, one teaspoonful each of allspice and cloves, and one cupful of vinegar. Boil to a thick sauce, and fill into jars. This is particularly good to serve with meats.