Sunday, September 27, 2009
Full Cooking Post... (plus bomb-ass peach chutney recipe)
This chutney recipe is from an antique cookbook of Matt's mom's. She makes it in mass quantities - when I helped her a couple of months ago we had to triple the recipe. I made just over one batch - I had some extra peaches so I tossed them in with a little bit extra of everything else. Sketchy, but chutney is forgiving.
6 lbs. peaches
2 lbs. raisins (we like to mix regular and golden raisins)
3/4 lb. preserved ginger
3 1/2 lbs. sugar
1 oz. salt
1 t. allspice
3 pints vinegar (a British pint being 20 ounces)
Cut a cross in the bottom of each peach and scald them in boiling water for maybe 3-4 minutes, they start to cook on the outside a tiny bit. Let them cool so you don't burn yourself and peel them. This is easier if your peaches are ripe, then you can just use a knife, for the less ripe ones I had to use a vegetable peeler and then you're giving up good fruit. Pit and chop the peeled peaches. This will take what seems like forever (but took me about an hour by the clock).
Chop the ginger into chunks. Mix the vinegar, salt, sugar and allspice. Bring to a boil and add the peaches. Simmer for 10 minutes before adding ginger and raisins. It barely fit in my biggest stockpot, FYI. Cook until it thickens up, letting it bubble a little bit but stirring periodically so nothing sticks to the bottom and burns. I ended up simmering for a couple hours until everything looked nice and thick and when I taste-tested it the vinegar and ginger flavors had mellowed out and married together nicely.
When you decide everything is cooked down enough (I was generous and gave it about three hours) pour it into jars. Fill the jars very full and stick the lid on while it's hot. As it cools it will seal. Matt's mom swears by this and has been making this stuff successfully for a very long time. And mine all sealed so I am going to believe her on this one. Apparently chutney is much more forgiving than jams and jellies (because it has about half a gallon of vinegar in it) so it is highly unlikely to spoil on you if you get it to seal.
This recipe is very open to adjustment, I want to try it with apricots next summer (if I can get someone else to help me peel them) or even with apples in the fall. I also have an apple butter recipe that makes ridiculously good apple butter but I am kind of scared of the pressure canning stuff - this had no hot water baths or anything and it was a really good starter project. So I hope you enjoyed my little photo essay/tutorial ;)