This year might not have been a great year for veg in Melbourne but if my friends tree is any indication it has been a wonderful year for peaches. She had loads and loads of beautiful, big and incredibly sweet peaches. Just luscious. I was the happy recipient of a large bag of these peaches and while the kids and I made a large dent in the bag eating them fresh there were simply more than we could manage before they would go off. So I turned to my preserve books only the be met with, well, not very much at all.
Personally I think the best method of preserving peaches is probably bottling them but these were a little past that point – they were pretty soft, and I was concerned they would collapse in a sloppy mess in the preserving jars. Bottling not being an option I pondered both sweet and savoury treatments but my books didn’t offer much in the way of either. So I decided to try both. I made some into Peach & Ginger Jam and the rest became Peach & Chilli Chutney. Sadly I failed to document the Jam recipe – I used a basic jam recipe (ie weight of fruit = weight of sugar) and then just chucked things (ginger, chilli, salt) in until I got the ginger, sweetness balance right . Or rather it seemed right. I do find it hard to judge what the jam will taste like cold when I’m tasting it while cooking.
The chutney though I did document. (And I think it is probably the nicer preserve anyway). I used a Nectarine Chutney recipe from my CWA cookbook as a base and then adapted it – primarily by the addition of lots more chilli than the original recipe included.
This is what I did:
Peach & Chilli Chutney
- 1.5kg chopped peaches
- 3.75 cups soft brown sugar
- 3.75 cups cider vinegar
- 1.5 tspn grated fresh ginger
- 1 tspn ground cinnamon
- 6 cloves
- 2.25 tspns salt
- 12 fresh chillies chopped (more if you like really hot chutney)
- 1 tspn chilli powder
- 2 apples grated
- 2 onions finely chopped
Place all ingredients into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook uncovered for a couple of hours until the mixture thickens.
I started with fewer chillies than above, tasted my chutney as I went and added more chilli along the way. In my experience the chutney tastes hotter when warm so I tend to add slightly more than I think is perfect.
The variety of chillies you use will have a huge impact on the heat of finished product – the above recipe was made using medium heat chillies (Joe’s Long Cayenne) and I think the chutney is a little too mild for my tastes so if you want a hot chutney then use hotter chilli varieties.
Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal.
Very nice. I’m hanging out for my parent’s tree to produce (it is a late clingstone peach perfect for peachy preserves), but I will say my early Anzac peaches were quite good this year. I definitely plan to bottle the peaches again, but I like the sound of a peachy chuntney. I may just have to give that a go.
Oh to have so many peaches that you don’t know how to use them! The peaches we get in the uk are seldom the sort you would want many of anyway. Always sold underripe “for home ripening” – but they seldom do ripen properly. I like the sound of the peach chutney. I am a big fan of mango chutney, and I imagine the sweet/hot combination being rather similar.
I am finding it really similar to mango chutney and you could use the same recipe with mangoes and get a great result I would have thought.
I agree with Mark. We have a young peach tree but I doubt we will ever have a glut!
These sound great. I am going to experiment with some sweet and spicy chutney this year I think too. Great use of peppers, because I always grow so many I am always looking for more uses of them.
Each time I eat some I enjoy it more and more.
A good recipe methinks. I made similar this year using red plums.
A good trick for adjusting the chilli flavour, which I think is hard to do while the chutney is warm, is to have a bottle of Extra Hot Indonesian Chilli on hand and using that get the flavour exactly as you want it.
My bottle says Sambal Extra Pedas which I suspect means extra hot sauce