I have written about chutney before here at Cooking with Ideas, but can never locate whether I actually wrote about Peach Chutney previously, which is the most row house of all row house chutneys. The recipe is from a parsi cookbook entitled My Bombay Kitchen written by Niloufer Ichapouria King (complete with the love of Alice Waters). For some general information on the author and book, try the NPR view here.
So, the recipe is actually for tomato chutney (and we have made that as well), but it can be adjusted to use stone fruit -- aka peaches. For years, we have made it, usually with peaches we purchase in bulk from a colleague who grows them. Since starting the life of Chicago and Geneva, rather than the wiser "be at home in Geneva" route, I have not made chutney. So: this past Labor Day I did. I made 11 jars of the stuff, with seconds I purchased at Red Jacket. I used 8 quarts of peaches -- a mixture of white and yellow; usually I simply use yellow. Also, I guessed that this was enough for two batches of the chutney, so I doubled the other ingredients. I have no idea how many pounds of peaches I had. (Yes, I looked it up. Then I just ignored the information, deciding to go for "its about two batches.")
Here's the recipe with some comments, and I genuflect in the direction of the cookbook, which has taught me a lot:
3 pounds of roughly chopped peaches (I am loose about the quantity, and you can also use plums, tomatoes, whatever. Having said that, a key is blanching the peaches and taking off the skins. A royal pain in the wherever, but definitely a necessity.)
1/2 cup of julienned fresh ginger( I tried slicing into rounds once and it does not work as well for either taste or getting into jars)
1/2 cup thinly sliced garlic (side note: Upstate NY is a great place to buy local garlic. We used German that we got at the Canandaigua Farmers Market this time as it is quite hot. We also like Music. Do not use a soft neck Italian as it is too mild. I do not believe the recipe which says that 1 large head = a half cup. I think about 2 is a half cup. )
1 1/2 cup cane, malt or cider vinegar ( I used cider this time.)
2 cups turbinado sugar or 1 cup white and 1 cup light brown (I admit I have, on at least one occasion, used a bit of dark brown sugar as well; this time I used Turbinado. The chutney is darker if you use dark brown sugar.)
1/2 to 1 cup raisins (optional but I always use them; usually closer to 1/2 cup)
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon cayenne or hot chili (I used a heaping tablespoon this time)
I small cinnamon stick
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
grated peel of one organic orange (optional and I have never used)
Cooking: Put everything in a big pot. Cook for about 2 hours. Do not boil too much, and do not cook to quickly. Stir regularly. Then let sit the batch over night. Then can, using the water bath method described, for example, here. Try not to make a huge mess. Do use your tools, including the dandy little magnet thingie that allows you to pick hot lids out of boiling water without undue damage to yourself. Thank yourself (and your partner) for the existence of a pot filler above your stove. Do not, as I did, wildly overfill the pot; I think it is basic early sanity to be able to deal with volume changes when you add things that weigh a lot, but I apparently missed that stage of growth.
Results This chutney is amazing. We were down to one jar and totally panicked, so it is a very good thing that I made it. It lasts for ages. Eat it: with Indian food, and in all sorts of other ways. I have been known to eat a spoonful directly from the jar. Be careful if you decide to try that, depending on how spicy that particular batch is. If you make it, give it only to people you love (and who can stand the heat).