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.