Monday, September 14, 2015

Peach-fig chutney

I hit the jackpot a few weeks ago at the Whole Foods annual peach sale, where I bought a 25-pound box of Georgia peaches for about $17. 

Or so I thought. The box was never weighed and I was encouraged to top it off to ensure I had at least 25 pounds. Given how many canning recipes I've completed, I have to believe I brought home a much heavy haul. 

After making peach riesling jelly, peach mustard, peach raspberry jam and peach butter, I'm glad that I resisted the urge to get two boxes. 

The project that generated the most interest among friends has been the chutney, which I thought of as a way to feature figs shared by a friend. I couldn't find anything quite like what I was looking for in my canning books or online. I was especially grateful when Sean Timberlake of Punk Domestics, a terrific site for creative canners, offered to take a look at my plan. He pronounced it safe. Now that it's done, I pronounce it delicious.

The only change I've made to the recipe below is to add more chili flakes. I started with a too-subtle 1/2 teaspoon, which kept the heat at little more than a suggestion. If you're a chili head, by all means use more.

Peach-Fig Chutney

4 pounds yellow peaches (about 8-9 cups, peeled and chopped into chunks)
1 medium yellow onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 cup dried apricots, diced
11/2  cup fresh figs, quartered
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp red chili flakes
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Place all ingredients in canning pot. Warm gradually, increasing heat to medium for a slow bubble. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

When figs have melted and peach chunks are tender, transfer 2-3 cups of mixture to blender and puree until smooth. Return to canning pot and increase heat to medium high. Stir often and carefully - mixture may generate volcano-like eruptions when stirred - until mixture has become as thick as a jam or preserve. If uncertain, test on a plate or metal spoons well chilled in the freezer. If the sample wrinkles or can be pressed into a clean streak, it's ready.

Fill prepared canning jars and process in water bath 15 minutes.

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