In putting up sweet pickles bear in mind that the fruit of which they are made must be very thoroughly cooked. If this precaution is not taken fermentation may possibly set in and the contents of your jars will be spoiled. Under the head of sweet pickles may be included such relishes as spiced grapes and currants, as well as the larger fruits.
Choose firm, freestone peaches for pickling. Morris whites are good for this purpose. Peel the peaches, dropping them into cold water as you do so, to preserve the color. Drain and weigh the fruit, allowing to every three pounds of it a pound and a half of sugar (granulated) and a cupful of vinegar. Stick a whole clove into each peach and put the fruit and sugar in layers in a porcelain-lined preserving kettle. Put the vinegar on to boil in a separate saucepan with a cheese-cloth bag containing a tablespoonful, each, of mace, cinnamon and cloves. Boil this for five minutes, then remove the spice bag. Cook the sugar and peaches together for five minutes more, and add the vinegar. Boil until the fruit looks clear, and is tender, but not broken. Remove the fruit carefully with a skimmer and spread upon platters to cool while you boil the syrup for fifteen minutes longer, or until it is very thick. Pack the peaches in jars set in a pan of hot water; fill with boiling syrup, and seal.
Rub the down from peaches of uniform size, using a coarse towel to do this. Prick each peach with a fork, weigh them, and put them into a preserving kettle with barely enough water to cover them. When the water is just short of the boil remove the peaches, and to the water in the kettle add sugar in the proportion of three pounds to every seven pounds of the fruit. Boil for fifteen minutes, skimming two or three times. For every seven pounds of the fruit put in three pints of vinegar, one tablespoonful, each, of ground cinnamon, mace and allspice, and one teaspoon-ful, each, of cloves and celery seed, all well mixed and tied up in tiny bags made of thin muslin. Let all cook together for ten minutes after they have come to a boil; put in the fruit and let it stew slowly until tender. Remove it from the syrup with a skimmer, spread it on plates to cool, and let the syrup boil until thick. Put the peaches into glass jars, pour in the syrup and seal.
Lay small cucumbers in brine for three days, then drain and lay in fresh water for a day. Line a kettle with grape leaves and arrange the cucumbers in it in layers, scattering a pinch of alum over each layer. Cover with cold water and three layers of leaves; fit a lid on the kettle and steam the pickles (without letting them boil) over a slow fire for six hours. Drain the cucumbers, throw into cold water, and when they are firm pack in jars. Fill the jars with boiling vinegar that has been seasoned with a cupful of sugar to each quart, eight whole cloves, eight black peppers, six allspice and six blades of mace. Seal the jars at once. They will be fit for use in three months.