Before I became a pickling fool I used to be a jam-making fool. My jam making has slowed to a trickle in recent years with one exception: peach chutney/jam. I make one version or the other of it every year. Ginger always goes into it (as in this jam with bourbon from five years ago) but the rest usually depends on what’s at hand. This year what was at hand was a lot of habanero peppers from my community garden plot and so I decided to throw them in. To cut the heat I added apple cider vinegar and then at the end I randomly decided to roast and powder some cumin seeds and toss them in too. One of the reasons my peach chutney varies from year to year is that I never write down whatever seat of the pants improvization I come up with. This year, however, some of the friends I gave a lot of the chutney to liked it so much that I wrote it down the next day. I don’t know if I’ll make it the exact same way again next year—I probably won’t—but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make it like I did, is there?
- 3 lbs peaches, peeled and pitted
- 2-3 cups sugar
- 1-2 tblspns grated ginger
- 6-10 habanero peppers, charred on a cast iron skillet and chopped with seeds and ribs removed
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tblspn cumin seeds, lightly roasted and coarsely powdered once cool
- Crush the peaches in a large bowl with a potato masher, add the sugar and ginger and set aside to let the syrup form as you char the habaneros and roast the cumin.
- Add the peaches and syrup to a large pan (once again, this All-Clad pan is my pan of choice for pickle and jam/chutney making) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring all the time.
- Add the vinegar and the chopped habaneros and stir constantly over medium-high heat till it begins to thicken and become jammy (about 15 minutes, probably).
- Add the powdered roasted cumin and stir for another five minutes or so.
- Fill into jars.
- This contains a fair bit of acid but, again, this recipe has not been tested for canning. If you’d like to can it then please do a ph test to make sure it’s acidic enough. As with all my pickle/chutney/jam making, I give half or so away to friends and refrigerate the rest for us to eat over the next month or two. This makes about 2.5 pints, by the way.
- I don’t puree the peaches because I liked there to be the occasional lump of fruit in this chutney.
- I have given ranges for the amount of sugar, ginger and habaneros because really this kind of chutney is an approach not an exact recipe and its up to you how gingery or hot or sweet you want it to be. Play with it and see what you like.
- In this most current version I used 8 pretty hot habaneros from my garden. They give the chutney a heat that doesn’t overpower it, growing in the background and then lingering. But you could get away with less—or maybe you’d like it to be very hot.
- You can serve this as a sweeter chutney with dal and rice and it’s also great with roast chicken, turkey or pork and in ham sandwiches and with cheese.