“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ”
~ Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Hooray! I’m feeling much better. And so of course my thoughts return to cooking…
A lovely neighbour turned up a fortnight ago with a box full of white and golden peaches and some nectarines, fresh from their orchard. A few days later there was another. The fruit was ‘seconds’ – too ripe, a bruise, a bird peck, a blemish. Not good enough quality to send to market, but good enough for me!
So last week I ended up making jam and chutney to my heart’s content. I love a good chutney – one that’s full of fruit and flavour. Chutneys are versatile things.
This is an easy chutney for beginners and the taste is peachy! Fresh, clean and sweet with a touch of heat and spice. Oh, the cardamom – mmmm, what a heavenly little flavour buzz in your mouth. 🙂
Use this chutney with chicken and roast meats. Try it as an accompaniment to your favourite curry. It’s also fabulous with cheese. Cheese, crackers and chutney is a wholesome snack for yourself, but fancy enough to serve to visitors with a cup of tea, a beer or a glass of wine. Mix some with a little plain yoghurt or sour cream and you’ll have yourself a tasty dip.
This recipe is also vegan and gluten free.
1 kilogram of pitted, peeled and sliced fresh peaches, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1 brown onion, 1/2 cup of sultanas, 1 tablespoon of cardamom pods, 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, 2 large garlic cloves crushed, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
Wash, pit, peel and slice your peaches.
Lightly crush cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle. Remove and discard all husks. Grind the seeds so that they are fragrant but still mostly whole.
Peel and grate the ginger root.
Place sugar, cardamom seeds and vinegar in a large non-reactive saucepan (such as stainless steel) and bring to boil, stirring.
Reduce heat to a simmer and dump in the finely chopped onion. Cook for ten minutes or until onion is softened.
Add in the peaches and stir well. As you can see, mine were a mix of golden and white peaches. This recipe works well with any variety of peaches.
Add the crushed garlic, ginger, sultanas and sweet chilli sauce. If you prefer a mild chutney add a little less chilli sauce, and if you like it hot add an extra tablespoon or to your taste.
Leave to simmer for 45 minutes or until jammy in texture. Stir well every so often so it doesn’t stick to the base. Add salt to taste.
Leave chutney to cool for ten minutes and then spoon into prepared jars (see note below). Place lids on jars. Label when cool.
Store in dark cupboard at least one month for the flavours to mature. Once open keep in fridge for one month. Unopened it will keep for a year.
Note – Preparing your jars: Clean jars and lids are essential for your jams and preserves. To sterilise your jars wash well in soapy water, rinse and then stand in a hot oven for ten minutes. Remove from oven and avoid touching neck of jar. You could also boil your jars and lids for ten minutes.Use tongs or a tea towel to hold them. Fill jars while hot. Wipe any excess from mouth of jar with a clean paper towel. Screw lids on while hot.