12 large firm but ripe freestone peaches (about 5 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon pickling spices
5 cups granulated sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
2 (1-quart) canning jars with brand-new lids and rings (see Notes)
Blanch the peaches in a large saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, rinse under cold water, and peel. Cut the peaches in half vertically, and remove the pits. Stud the peach halves with the cloves. Tie up the cinnamon sticks and pickling spices in a squeezed-dry rinsed piece of cheesecloth. In a 5-quart nonreactive Dutch oven or soup kettle, bring the sugar, vinegar, and spices to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just until the sugar has dissolved. Add the peaches, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently just until the peaches are heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peach halves from the syrup and pack them into the hot sterilized canning jars. Discard the spices and return the syrup to a full rolling boil. Pour the hot syrup into the jars, dividing it evenly. Wipe away any spills from the jars lips, and screw on the lids and rings. Let cool completely at room temperature. Let stand for at least 1 week before serving.