Monday, August 22, 2011

Peach Chutney and the Joy of Barter

    One of my barter deals literally came to fruition this past week although a lot of vegetables were also involved.  A few days ago I took delivery of two boxes of Roma tomatoes, one box of Marigold apples ( a new variety to me), one box of peaches, 50 head of cabbage, 25 pounds of beets, and three boxes of pickling cucumbers.  That represented about a third of this particular barter deal. The major technical difficulties are the fact that a lot of stuff comes at the same time and that time is rarely convenient.  Needless to say I'm in quite a pickle.  We made a double batch of bread and butter pickles on Saturday and only used about a third of one box of cucumbers. I don't need a crystal ball to see a lot of pickles in my future.

     Since the peaches are no doubt the most perishable item on hand, it seemed wise to use them first. I made a triple batch of peach chutney tonight.  I had made some last year and it was fairly popular.  I found the recipe in "Stocking Up" by Carol Stoner, published by Rodale Press. I consider it to be the ultimate food preservation book and I refer to it frequently. The recipe is a little spicy, possibly the equivalent of medium salsa. It isn't super hot but people who don't care for spicy food might find it too hot for their taste. The recipe is as follows:

   1 1/2 cups of diced onions                     1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard
   1 garlic clove, minced                             1/4 teaspoon cardamom
   2 tablespoons of oil                                1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
   1 1/2 tespoon of tumeric                         1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
   1 1/2 teaspoon of coriander                    3/4 cup of wine vinegar
   1 teaspoon of cumin                               1/4 cup of water
   1/2 teaspoon of ginger                            1/2 cup of honey
   1/2 teaspoon of cayenne                         2 pounds of peaches, sliced
   1/4 teaspoon of black pepper 
    Saute onions and garlic in oil, adding spices as they cook.  Add vinegar, water, and honey. Simmer about ten minutes.  Add peaches and simmer until they are tender. While still hot, pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Adjust lids and process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Yield is 2 pints.

    I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I didn't have cardamom so I substituted cinnamon. I left out the coriander only because I didn't have any on hand. Its sufficiently spiced that one less spice was probably not real noticeable. I did use honey, although as a rule I don't like to use honey in canning where it will be heated significantly.  I tripled the recipe and ended up with almost 8 pints.  I probably used an extra amount of peaches as I didn't bother to weigh them.  The only thing difficult was dealing with cling peaches but we have to work with what we have sometimes.. The box of peaches is now down to a reasonable number for Linda and I to eat fresh.

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