It's Peach Season! Time to eat all we can and can all we can't. ;-) I love canning - it's one of those tasks where we get to enjoy the fruits of a day's work for a long time.
The jar to the far right is Peach Chutney I made last year. It turned out great! It is wonderful with roast poultry and makes a really nice alternative to cranberry sauce. We can't grow cranberries in Texas so this is a good thing for those trying to eat locally or do the "100 mile diet" bit. Aside from some of the spices, all the ingredients either were local or "could have been" homegrown.
Personally, I don't think we should count the spices when trying to eat locally, because spices were one of the early commodities traded as far back as stone age people thousands of years ago - right up to what is now called "The Spice Trade" explosion in the 15th century Age of Exploration. It's why Columbus discovered America: looking for a shorter trade route to the continents and islands of the Orient (the Orient - from the Latin root "orientem" meaning the direction of the sun rise - was the Eastern world, the Occident, from L. "occidentem", direction of the sunset, was the word for the West), where all sorts of wonderful spices originated.
I found the original version of this recipe for "Spicy Peach Chutney" on Allrecipes.com, submitted by "Shana":
Original Recipe Yield 6 - 1/2 pints
* 4 pounds sliced peeled peaches
* 1 cup raisins
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 5 ounces chopped preserved ginger
* 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
* 1 tablespoon mustard seed
* 1 teaspoon curry powder
* 4 cups packed brown sugar
* 4 cups apple cider vinegar
* 1/4 cup pickling spice
1. In a large heavy pot, stir together the peaches, raisins, garlic, onion, preserved ginger, chili powder, mustard seed, curry powder, brown sugar and cider vinegar. Wrap the pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag, and place in the pot.
2. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat uncovered until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to get a good thick sauce. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.
3. Remove the spice bag, and ladle into hot sterilized jars. Wipe the rims with a clean moist cloth. Seal with lids and rings, and process in a barely simmering water bath for 10 minutes, or the time recommended by your local extension for your area. The water should cover the jars completely.
I used fresh peaches I had just picked off the tree, but it can as easily be made with canned, frozen or dehydrated fruit. You could even use your peach jam (I'd leave out the sugar in this recipe if I were making it with jam).
To make Peach Chutney using dried peaches, pour plain hot water over the fruit in a ratio of 1 1/2 cups water per cup of fruit and let soak for an hour. Don't add the sugar yet or it will keep the peaches from absorbing the water. Measure out 6 cups of reconsituted peaches and use in place of the fresh peaches called for in the recipe.
This recipe, like many pickles, is best after it has had time to age for at least 2 months. Made at this time of year, it was perfect by Thanksgiving, and we enjoyed it all the way through the winter.