Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monroe Peach and Cranberry Chutney

Recently, we have been hearing the term "chutney" tossed around like we should all know what the heck it is. When I was a young'un we had mustard, ketchup, mayo and pickles.  Yeah, relish didn't come along in my house til I was in my teens and then it was a store bought, sickly sweet concoction that totally ruined any sandwich it was put on.  With the reemergence of home canning and preserving, we find that we have a host of options now for sandwiches and meals in general.  Hence, chutney.....

Chutney comes from the Eastern Indian "chanti" meaning "strongly spiced" and is a condiment that is composed of any combination of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, vinegar, and sugar.  It is on the "chunky side," which is a good thing for those of us who like to know what we are putting on our food.  It comes in hot and spicy or sweet combinations, which make it a perfect accompaniment for many recipes.  In India, it was usually served with their curried food, providing a nice balance for the spiciness of the curry.  It has adapted to our cuisine and is found here to accompany any number of sandwiches, chicken, ham, pork....

Which brings us to today's post.  So when the Monroe peaches came into season and were available at my local farm market, Stuckey's Farm, I just could not resist the urge to buy, buy, buy those delicious little gems of a peach.  Once I had dehydrated and froze "beaucoup" peaches (which will be discussed as an addendum to today's post) and created all the jam, syrup and canned peach with flavors that I could possible come up with, I was left with a lot of peaches left.  We could only eat so many sliced and diced of the remaining peaches, so chutney it became.  We love it and have gone through almost an entire jar in just over a week.  It goes on everything from sandwiches to toast to waffles to chicken to .......yadayada...

This chutney has a delicious not too sweet taste with a bite.  The peaches are pitted and chopped not too small.  Which brings me to this convenient little gadget that you might want to check out:  Amco Peach Pitter/Slicer.  It made the entire pitting, chopping business soooo much easier.  Definitely worth looking into if you plan on doing much with peaches!

Hope you enjoy!  Let me know what you think once you have tried it.  

8 cups peaches, pitted and chopped
1 and 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 and 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup onion
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine peaches, brown sugar, vinegar, cranberries, onion, mustard seeds, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a large kettle or jam pot (Mauviel Copper 15-Quart Jam Pan with Bronze Handles).   

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil, stirring frequently, until thick (about 30-40 minutes).  You want the chutney to mound on a spoon.

Ladle chutney into hot, sterilized jars and seal with hot, sterilized lids leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.  Place the jars in a boiling water bath canner and process for 15 minutes.  Remove the lid from the canner after 15 minutes and allow the jars to rest in the hot water for 5 minutes longer before removing the jars.

Dehydrated Peaches, aka Peach Candy

Amco Peach Pitter/SlicerAmco Peach Pitter/Slicer
Peaches, Pitted and Sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups water

In a bowl, combine water and lemon juice.
Drop sliced peaches into the water and gently toss to cover them.  The lemon juice helps the peaches to not brown from oxidation.

Place peaches onto dehydrator racks and turn on dehydrator.  When putting slices on the racks, be sure that you leave some room between peaches to aid in drying.  I like to lay my peaches on their sides to speed up drying time.  Let dry for 10-12 hours.

Store sliced peaches in a zip lock freezer bag in the freezer.  They will keep for several months if your children do not eat them first!

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