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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Peach and Tomato Chutney


I cannot believe it's taken me a year to post this chutney recipe.  Last year, when I was working at Sur la Table, my very first class was a canning class.  We made two types of fruit preserves (sweet) and a tomato chutney (savory).  I liked all the recipes a lot, finding them all to be easy to follow and fool-proof - perfect for a novice level class.  The recipes impressed me so much that I made all of the recipes at home; one I made that same day.

Over the course of last summer, as the fruits came and went from the farmers' markets, I experimented with the tomato chutney.  I made the original recipe, which was super simple and had only a handful of ingredients and seasonings.  Then, me being me, I tweaked the chutney just a tad, adding in some onions, cutting back the sugar, and once, when I was gifted a gallon bag filled with heirloom tomatoes, I made a new batch - a once-in-a-lifetime batch that probably cannot be duplicated.  Cest la vive.

This year my tweaks include using first of the season Jersey peaches, early-season plum and grape tomatoes, red onion, green onions/scallions, and one of my own homemade curry blends.  I can successfully report that the tweaks work and that you will be able to whip up personalized batches of your own tomato chutney.  It'll be sweet, tangy, tart, jammy, tomatoey, and good.  This is great on sandwiches, on hamburgers, with grilled meats or fish, with a nice piece of grilled tofu, along side a cheese board (it's great with bleu or goat cheeses), or straight out of the jar, on a spoon, as a dip or snack!

The Collingswood Farmers' Market has several great fruit vendors, I picked up a 1/2 quart of small peaches for $7 - yielding around over 28 peaches! Quite a deal.  Tomatoes were a good price too,  $3 for a quart of grape tomatoes and under $4 for several pounds of plum/Roma tomatoes.  When I did my market shopping last weekend, I spent a total of $40 on all of my produces and fruit, and that included buying Nate a muffing from Springdale Farms.

It really is best to use fresh ingredients, from local, trusted farmers, while the produce is in peak season. The taste is fresher, sweeter, with none of the off-tastes or flavors that you get from tomatoes and peaches trucked in from hundreds of miles away, gassed to ripen and then chilled to keep fresh.  If you're using supermarket produce, you pay more per jar of preserves and it won't be worth the taste in quality.  Do yourself a favor, get out to one of your local markets or make friends with someone who has a lot of produce to share from their garden!

Equipment Needed:
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef and Paring Knives
  • Canning Jars, bands and lids
  • Canning - Water-bath Pot
  • Jar lifter
  • Spoons
  • Ladle
  • Spatula
  • 8 quart sauce pot
  • Pot holders
  • Towels, wash cloths
Peach and Tomato Chutney Ingredients:
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil - or other neutral, light oil
  • 1 Large Red Onion - peeled and medium dice
  • 1 Bunch Scallions - thoroughly cleaned, use whites and most of the greens - small dice
  • 2 Tablespoons Freshly Grated Ginger - if using a microplaner, there's no need to peel the ginger, just grate it
  • 2 Tablespoons Curry Powder
  • 3 Pounds ripe Plum or Roma Tomatoes - washed, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 quart Cherry or Grape Tomatoes - washed
  • 1 - 2 Pounds Fresh Peaches - skins removed, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon or 1/2 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Directions:


  1. Wash and prepare all the vegetables, dicing, chopping, mincing, etc. and set aside. To peel the skins off the peaches, wash them, then cut an "X" onto the top of the peach.  Place the peaches into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, then remove the peaches with a slotted spoon. Plunge the peaches into an ice-water bath or run cold water over them.  The skins will slip right off the peaches once you handle them.
  2. In a 8 quart sauce pot (stock pot), heat the tablespoon of oil over medium high heat until the oil shimmers, then add in the diced red onions.  Saute the onions until they become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the chopped scallions, stirring to combine and saute for another minute, then add in the minced ginger and the curry powder. Stir and saute for one minute longer.
  4. Add in the tomatoes, peaches, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar and vinegar.  Stir the mixture to combine and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture until it becomes thick and jam-like, reducing down in volume.  Take a wooden spoon or a potato masher and crush the tomatoes and peaches until they break down and become chunky.  Cook the chutney for 1 1/2 hours over low-heat.  The chutney can cook while you prepare your canning jars and water-bath. video
  6. Prepare your water-bath canning pot by filling it with water and bringing the water to a boil.  Prepare and sterilize your canning jars, lids and screw bands.  Dry the band and set them aside.  Place the lids into a small saucepan and cover with water; place saucepan over low heat and bring the water to a bare simmer. Put the jars into the waterbath pot to sterilize while you prepare your chutney mixture.  The water should be at a simmer, with a few bubble popping up now and then.
  7. Process the jars: Using a jar lifter, remove the sterilized jars, one at a time from the water-bath, carefully pouring the hot water out of the jar and back into the pot.  I use a beer-cozy to wrap around the jars as I fill them, to keep my hands from burning.  
  8. Ladle the hot chutney into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch-headspace (keep the ingredients below the screw-band line inside the jar).  Remove any air bubbles in the jar by sticking a chopstick down the side of the jar.  Fill all the jars, then carefully wipe off each jar with a damp paper towel to remove any reside or spills.
  9. Place flat lids and bands onto jars, tightening each band to just finger-tight.  Return the jars to the water-bath pot, making sure that they are covered by hot water by 1 inch.  Bring the water back to a boil and process for 15 minutes.  When the timer is up, allow jars to sit 5 minutes in the water-bath with the heat off.  Remove jars and place onto clean dishtowel and do not disturb or dry off.  After 2 hours, check to see if the lids have sealed.  You should hear a popping sound within a few minutes after removing the jars from the water-bath pot.  Press down on the center of the lids to see if the lid gives.  If it makes a clicking sound when pressed, it hasn't sealed.  Refrigerate any jars that haven't properly sealed immediately.  Allow jars to cool up to 12 hours before storing.
  10. Processed jars that have properly sealed should be stored in a cool, dark place and kept for up to one year.  Label and date all your jars - this way you'll know what' in them, and when it was made.  Once a jar is opened, use the contents within 2 weeks.  
  11. Yields 10 - 8-ounce jars or 4 pints.  I put my batches up in smaller jars, using the 8-ounce jelly jars and a few 4-ounce jars for "samples" at foodswaps or when I want to share with someone at work. 



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