Summertime is Peach Time in the South. That’s time for peach cobblers, peach pies, peach ice cream and other delicious doin’s.
A couple of years ago, I made a savory peach jam, which was a big hit with the folks I gifted it to. This chutney recipe is quite extraordinary and a bit different from your butter-and-jelly ways. You’ll love it. It also doesn’t contain any salt, for folks watching their intake.
Try this as a last-minute grill topper on pork loin, chicken or veggies. It’s also a great condiment on the side or as a savory morning toast topper. Any way you like peaches, this works “mighty fine,” as we Southerners say.
Header image by NaJina McEnany and used under a Creative Commons license.
Southern peach chutney
- large Dutch oven
- tall saucepan or soup pot
- large slotted spoon
- wooden cooking spoons
- cutting board
- paring knife
- chef’s knife
- large mixing bowl
- measuring equipment
- 6-inch-square cheesecloth or similar white cloth, also long thin piece to tie it closed
- Not necessary but helpful – candy thermometer that attaches to the side of the Dutch oven
- Dozen 8-ounce jelly jars and lids
(For final stage: Large roaster pan into which you set sealed jars, then pour in boiling water. If you don’t have a roaster pan, a large deep pan will do, although you probably can’t get all your jars in at one time.)
- 4 pounds sliced peeled peaches
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (reduced sugar)
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (roast these beforehand using the recipe below)
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- thinly sliced peel of 2 lemons
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 4 cups packed brown sugar
- 4 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup pickling spice (wrapped in cloth garni, French for bundle)
LET’S GET STARTED
If you just purchased your sealed jars, disassemble them and wash thoroughly in your dishwasher. Let them dry on your kitchen counter while you make the chutney. (Here are some canning 101 tips.)
Halfway fill deep saucepan or soup pot with water. Bring to a boil.
Rinse peaches in the sink. When water boils, carefully drop them 3-4 at a time into the boiling water. Let them scald for about 30 seconds, then lift each out with the slotted spoon onto a dry dish towel.
Let them cool 2-3 minutes before you begin to peel them with your paring knife. You’ll see how easily the skin peels away. (This is an excellent method to use on peeling tomatoes, although don’t scald them quite as long, maybe 15-20 seconds.)
Place each peeled peach into a large mixing bowl. About every 4 peeled peaches, use your paring knife and slice away the flesh from the large center stone (seed).
Pour about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice on top and mix lightly to make contact with juice and peach slices. Stir bowl each time you add sliced peaches. (This will help prevent them from turning brown before you cook them.) This recipe calls for about a dozen peaches.
Wrap the pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag, tie it securely and dampen it under the tap.
In large dutch oven, stir together the peaches, raisins/cranberries, lemon slices, garlic, onion, shredded ginger, chili powder, mustard seed, curry powder, brown sugar, pepper flakes and cider vinegar. Add the cheesecloth bag.
If you have a candy thermometer, place it on the side of the pot. Likely it will register about 180 degree F while the mixture is boiling.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently and cook over medium heat uncovered until the mixture reaches desired consistency. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to get a good thick sauce. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. After about 60 minutes, check to see if your peach slices have “fallen apart” to some degree. If not, take a potato masher or pastry blender to break them up a little bit, but not too much. You’ll want some recognizable chunks in your chutney. (Remember, the chutney will thicken more in jars inside the refrigerator.)
When it’s ready, remove the spice bag, and ladle into sterilized jars. Wipe the rims with a clean moist cloth. Seal with lids and rings, and process in a barely simmering water bath for 10 minutes, or the time recommended by your local extension for your area. This can occur on the stove top with a roaster pan or in a 350 oven. The water should cover the jars completely.
SERVE: Makes 12, 1/2-pints (8 oz. jars). Great on top of any kind of grilled meat or fish, as a on-plate complement or in a small serving dish on your buffet for guests to enjoy as they come along. Don’t forget, it’s great on a toasted baguette slice with cream cheese, too.
HOW TO ROAST GARLIC
Roasted garlic is nothing like raw garlic. The roasted kind is mild and oft-times sweet. It squeezes out of its head like toothpaste.
Here’s how: With your chef’s knife, cut across the top of the garlic head to reveal the tops of your cloves. Set onto a baking dish or in a ramekin you use for baking. (I have a cute little terra cotta gizmo made for this purpose.). Lightly douse the garlic head with olive oil.
Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes until the garlic is brown and soft. You can lift the cloves out with a paring knife or fork, or just squeeze the cooled head from the bottom and the softened cloves pop out onto a plate or chopping board.
Roasted garlic is great as a butter substitute on warm bread and absolutely melts into recipes like this peach chutney.
Come back to NewinNOLA.com for “Southfacin’ Cook,” where Patsy explains the basics to Southern cooking and eating. Contact her with suggestions, questions or requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This work by Patsy R. Brumfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.