Last weekend I spent the afternoon on Vashon Island at a local kick-off Canning Across America http://www.canningacrossamerica.com/gathering in the home of Shauna Ahern, aka Gluten Free Girl. Jas and I had just moved house and so I left early to unpack. Leaving early also meant that I didn’t stay long enough to leave with blueberry jam, plum preserves or the canned whole tomatillos I helped to clean.
A few days later, I got a call from my friend Gerry Warren who asked me if I wanted any peaches. A tree at his house in Darrington yielded excellent peaches this year, but he had too many to use up himself. I took ten pounds of small to medium sized firm peaches that ripened a lot in the few days they sat in a covered cardboard box.
I spent a few hours canning today. Yes, it’s work, but I’m feeling very fortunate to have gotten this amazing fruit free of charge. Thanks Gerry and Diane.
About seven or eight years ago, I made a small batch of mango chutney from a recipe given to me by a friend from Andhra Pradhesh (India), but I had never canned any chutney in large batches. I browsed through recipes looking for one that had enough acid for canning. I settled on an American-style chutney recipe from Putting Food By, 4th Edition. Apple cider vinegar and very conservative spice amounts, this chutney seemed right for roasted or grilled sweet and lean meat, sausages and high fat cheeses. I don’t think it would work as a condiment for samosas, but I could be wrong. I adapted the original recipe by using chopped dates instead of raisins and adding brown mustard seeds and cinnamon to the spices. I personally expect mustard seed in any chutney and I think it helped a lot. Feel free to leave them out if you like.
American Peach Chutney
Recipe adapted from Putting Food By, 4th Edition
Juice, pulp and peel of 2 lemons, finely chopped
4 cups cider vinegar
2 lbs. dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 tsp Kosher salt
6 lbs. coarsely chopped firm peaches, peeled and seeded
1 1/2 cups crystallized ginger coarsely chopped or 1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins, chopped dates, or golden raisins
2 serrano chili peppers, stem removed and mince
Optional replace 1/2 cup minced onion or shallot if you don’t like garlic
Chop lemon, removing the seeds but saving the juice (food processor or blender), and put in an open, large heavy enameled kettle with sugar, vinegar garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamon and fresh chili. Boil the mixture over medium heat for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Meanwhile prepare the peaches, and add them to the syrup with the dried fruit. Boil slowly, stirring to prevent sticking and scorching, until the fruit is tender but not mushy and the syrup thick- about 45 minutes. Ladle the hot chutney into hot sterilized 1/2 pint jelly jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headroom in 1/2 pints. If using pint jays, leave 1/2 inch. Removed trapped air by sticking a bubble freer or chopstick straight into jar. Do not stir. Wipe sealing rim; cap. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (180F) Remove and cool upright.
The lemon will seem bold and bitter right now, but the chutney improves greatly after storing for a few months. Alternately, put into a clean glass or ceramic jar while still hot and allow to cool. Cover tightly with a non-corrosive lid. Keep refrigerated. The chutney mellows as it sits.
Yield: Makes enough to fill 18 half pints; 9 pints