Honey-Sweetened Peach Chutney

peach chutney

Every summer and fall, I try to make at least two or three batches of chutney. It’s a handy thing to have to tuck into gift bags (it helps to break up the monotony of all the jams) and it makes for a very easy potluck contribution (one log of goat cheese + a jar of chutney + baguette rounds = happy diners). Last year, I did versions with black plums and apricots. So far this year, I’ve made cherry chutney and this batch of honey-sweetened peach chutney with some of the Canbassador fruit.

peach half

Chutney is not one of the condiments I ate during my formative years, but it has grown on me in my adulthood. These days, it’s one of my refrigerator staples and on days when the leftover pickings are slim, I pull out some cheese, make a piece of toast, and grab some chutney. Works every time. Right now, I’m eating the very end of the black plum from last summer, as well as the dregs of the persimmon chutney from this project.

peach quarters

Before you start making this chutney, you should know that when it comes to removing the skin from relatively small amounts of peaches (and tomatoes, too), I’ve changed my strategy. I am no longer a fan of the blanch and chill. Instead, I cut the peaches into quarters and pull out the pits and heap them in a heatproof bowl. While I work, I bring a kettle of water to a boil.

peeling peaches

Once all the peaches are sliced, I pour the boiling water over the fruit. Let it sit for a few minutes, until you see the skins starting to wrinkle. Drain the fruit, rinse with cold tap water, and peel. It works really well and feels easier and more streamlined.

eight cups chopped peaches

The only thing I can’t stress enough is the importance of using a the heatproof bowl. One very distracted evening, I used a glass bowl that I thought was Pyrex. It was not and it shattered from the hot water. I was able to salvage some of the fruit, but it made a mess and was generally unfortunate.

chutney on the stove

Cooking times can vary a great deal with chutney. I always plan a secondary kitchen project when I have a batch going, so that I can stay close to the pot and give it a good stir every few minutes. It has a tendency to stick on the bottom as the cooking time nears its end, so try stay focused in those last moments of simmering.

peach chutney with honey

The only other useful tip I have to share when it comes to chutney is that it’s best to open a sealed jar an hour or so before you plan on serving it. When you first open chutney, all you can taste is the vinegar. However, if you let it breathe a little, the vinegar dissipates a little and the flavors of the fruit and spices are more prominent.

How do you like to eat chutney?

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Lazy Peach Preserves

more lazy peach preserves

When I teach classes, I’m often asked about peeling fruit. I typically tell people that I always peel peaches and apples, but leave the skins on nearly everything else. However, it looks like I might have to revise that statement, because the preserve I’m about to tell you about includes unpeeled peaches. Shocking, I know.

This particular recipe came about when I became the proud owner of both 10 pounds of cherries and a half bushel of rapidly ripening, very sweet, yellow peaches about ten minutes before I was leaving town for 2 1/2 days.

peaches

Both boxes of fruit were courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission, the folks behind the most fabulous website Sweet Preservation. When I signed on to be a Canbassador again this year, I didn’t realize that it was going to converge with the cherry challenge. Still, I am not one to shirk a canning challenge and so, when I got back to town, I went to work.

I made eight half pints of peach chutney (more on that tomorrow). I cooked up a smallish batch of honey-sweetened peach vanilla jam (look for it on Thursday). And I made these unpeeled, but very delicious, peach preserves. I also ate a whole bunch of these peaches just plain and raw (good lord, were they amazing).

I washed four pounds of peaches well, doing my best to rub away most of the exterior fuzzy. Then, I cut them into wedges, covered the fruit with 1 1/2 cups of honey, added some thin ribbons of lemon zest, and stirred it all together. It sat for an hour or so, until everything was juicy. Then I scraped it into a pan, brought it to a boil, funneled the peaches into prepared pint jars and processed them for 20 minutes (I used the processing time recommended by the NCHFP for pints of peach halves and slices).

peach slices

It’s hard to tell from the picture of the jar up at the top of the post, but the peach slices are still quite distinct. My vision for these jars is that I’ll eat them with yogurt and granola or with oatmeal for breakfast later in the year. I often eat those same things with fresh, unpeeled peaches during the summer months and never mind the peels, so my guess is that I won’t mind them with the peels when they’re coming out of a jar. Here’s hoping that will prove to be true!

Though it seems kind of hard to believe, this is the fourth year that I’ve been one of the Washington State Fruit Commission’s Canbassador. Last year, I made Oven-Roasted Nectarine Butter and Luisa Weiss’s Spiced Plum Butter. The year before, it was Italian Plum Jam with Star Anise and Honey-Sweetened Apricot Lavender Butter. And if you go all the way back to that first year, I made Apricot-Blackberry Jam and Pickled Sweet Cherries. These boxes of fruit have led to some very good eating over the last few years.

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The Sur La Table Preserving Box + Giveaway

Quattro Stagione jars

It should come as no surprise to any of you that I take a certain amount of pride in being on top of all things canning. I like to know about the preserving cookbooks that are in the pipeline. I do my darnedest to be aware of any tools that are being marketed with canning mind. And I want to have canned in every jar out there, so as to be able to answer questions with some level of knowledge and understanding.

Progressive International canning kit and Le Parfait jars

So, when the folks at Sur La Table got in touch to ask if they could send me a box filled with some of the canning gear they sell in their store, of course I said yes (after all, I had to see if there was anything out there that I didn’t know about!).

The package arrived a little more than a week ago and contained an assortment of the Quattro Stagioni jars (the three sizes I got were .5 L, .25 L, and .15 L) a pair of these Le Parfait jars (these were new to me and I adore them! They’re the same style as used by Bonne Maman), and the box of canning essentials made by Progressive International (I wrote about these tools here).

trendsheet clip 475

The other thing that Sur La Table sent me along with this box full of goodies was a PDF fact sheet full of current statistics about local food, farmers market shopping, and canning and preserving. There was one particularly hunk of data that I found particularly interesting (that’s the image you see above).

I’ve always noted that when I teach a jam class, I mostly get women participating. The percentage of men goes way up in my pickling classes. It’s neat to see the numerical breakdown of something I’ve long observed.

Progressive International tools

Because it’s Monday and that’s giveaway ’round these parts, I’m going to share some of this goodie box with one lucky reader. I’m giving away the Progressive canning tools that they sent me (the lid lifter is the best one I’ve found) as well as the set of four .15L Quattro Stagioni jars they sent. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post. Tell me about your favorite jar, about something you’ve canned this summer, or your most beloved canning tool (we’re taking the grab bag approach this week).
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, August 23, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, August 25, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Sur La Table sent me this box of canning goodies for free. I’m choosing to share out some of its contents with one of my readers. I did not receive monetary compensation for this post and all opinions expresses are entirely mine. 

Upcoming Classes: Philly! Brooklyn! Maryland!

class image revised

Though the summer is starting to wind down, there are still lots of opportunities to take a class or catch a demo. Here’s what’s coming up over the next couple months!

August 20 – Spicy Tomato Chutney at Greensgrow in Philadelphia. Class is from 12 – 2 pm and costs $35. Click here to sign up!

August 24 through 26 – Then, I’m spending this coming weekend teaching the last three classes in my preserving series at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York (though there is talk of adding a few more fall classes). These classes are two-hour, hands on sessions. You’ll go home with a juicy packet of canning info and a jar or two of preserves. Prices vary depending on the topic.

August 24, 2 – 4 pm (tomatoes)
August 25, 2 – 4 pm (jam)
August 26, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (tomatoes)

September 7 & 8 – I’m doing a pair of free canning demos at the Central Farm Markets in the Maryland. On Saturday, I’ll be at the Pike Central Market from 10 am to 12 noon, demonstrating my small batch canning technique (I’ll also have books to sell and sign). On Sunday, I’ll be at the Bethesda Central Market from 10 am to 12 noon, doing the very same thing. Hope some of you can come.

September 14 – Tomato Jam at Indy Hall! In this class, we’ll make a batch of tomato jam and talk about all the ins and outs of canning tomatoes. Both boiling water bath and pressure canning will be discussed. Class is 11 am – 1 pm and costs $50. Leave a comment or email me to sign up.

September 19 – Tomato canning basics at Cooking Spotlight in Phoenixville, PA. Class runs 6:30 – 9 pm and costs $60. Click here to sign up.

October 12 – Spiced Apple Pie Filling at Indy Hall! This class will give students an opportunity to help peel, chop and process 10 pounds of apples down into a batch of fragrant, spicy apple pie filling. Class is 11 am – 1 pm and costs $50. Leave a comment or email me to sign up.

October 19 – Canning at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. The morning class will be a jam making session, featuring a batch of pear vanilla jam. The afternoon class will be a make your own pickle party, starring water bath processed pickled carrots. Times, fees and registration links coming soon.

October 26 – Canning demo and book signing at the Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue in Center City Philadelphia. Demo starts at 1 pm and I’ll be available to sell and sign books until 5 pm.

October 29 – Chutney making class with the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market. We’ll make a batch of apple pear chutney (using all local fruit) from 6-8 pm in the Rick Nichols Room. Click here to sign up.

 

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Links: Pickles, Salsas, Dill Heads, and a Winner

doling out lemon juice

This past week was another intense seven day stretch, filled with classes, workshops, demos, deadlines, and finishing off a round of editing on the next book (it’ll bounce my way again in about a month, but I get a little time off for now). You might have noticed that posting was mighty slim around these parts last week. Happily, this week is shaping up to be a bit less frenetic and next week, I’m headed out for nearly a week of vacation! Let there be good times ahead!

Mrs. Wages mixes

mrs wages august winner As always, many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Mrs. Wages tomato mix basket giveaway last week. The winner is #338/Jordan Watts. Congratulations Jordan, I hope you find these mixes useful!

I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another giveaway, so make sure to check back then!

 

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Blackberry Jamtini from Growing a Greener World

Jamtini7_Final

As you all well know, nothing delights me more than discovering a new way to put my jams into action. I use them to sweeten smoothies, pour the runnier batches over yogurt, make vinaigrettes with them, and use the to glaze roast meat. So, when Theresa Loe, master food preserver and Co-Executive Producer of the gardening show Growing A Greener World, emailed to ask if I wanted to participate in a virtual cocktail party in which every drink would include some jam, of course I said yes.

GGW_Jamtini_BlackberryClose

She looked through my archives, picked out my blackberry jam and invented a custom cocktail featuring that particular preserve. It includes fresh blackberries, raspberry lemonade, simple syrup, vodka, sparkling water, and a goodly dollop of blackberry jam (sounds pretty darn good right about now). Here’s what Theresa said about the recipe:

This recipe would work with any of your blackberry jams. I bet the apricot-blackberry would be divine! I prefer seedless jams because the seeds tend to clog up the shaker strainer. But if you have seeds in the jam, it still works. It just takes a little jiggling to get all the liquid through the strainer and into the glass. For a non-alcoholic version, simply skip the vodka and add an extra shot or two of lemonade. Easy-peasy!

 Visit the Growing a Greener World site for more Jamtini recipes and links to the other party participants. For a quick demonstration of the art of the jamtini, make sure to watch the video embedded below. To check in on all the jam cocktail action on Twitter, follow @GGWTV and the hashtag #Garden2Jar


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