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Since I was young, every summer my mother and I always made our own jams, fruit butters and other jars of preserved deliciousness. Now that we no longer live close, when we do get together it becomes a multi-day canning extravaganza. Canning is quite time consuming, so having a partner in crime makes the whole process easier and more enjoyable.

This past can-a-thon was during the peak of peach season in Upstate New York, so we made the typical peach jam and peach butter, (and pickles, totally unrelated to the peaches) but I really wanted to make something different, something savory. At the time I was having my usual love affaire with Indian food, so the idea of making chutney came to mind. We looked through our trusty Bell Canning book and stumbled upon this gem of a recipe. You have to believe me when I say it’s outstanding! It’s a little sweet and a little tart and a whole lot of delicious. Eat it with a spoon straight from the jar or if you have more self-control serve it over chicken or pork or as an appetizer when paired with cheese and bread. I opened my last jar to serve over pan seared chicken breasts with a side of Caramelized Brussels Sprouts. Needless to say dinner was delicious and deeply satisfying.

If you don’t want to be bothered with the whole canning process you could always make half a recipe and eat it right away. If you haven’t canned before, here is a great website to explain the basics: Ball Canning and Preserving. In my directions I’m going to assume you have the right equipment and know how to properly sterilize your jars, lids and bands. If you do choose to can the chutney you’ll be happy you did, especially mid-January when you can’t remember the taste of a fresh peach. Enjoy!

Spicy Peach Chutney

  • 4 pounds of peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 5 ounces crystallized ginger, diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pickling spice

Before you start make sure your jars, lids and bands are clean and ready to go.

In a large heavy pot mix peaches, raisins, garlic, onion, ginger, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar along with all the spices except for the pickling spice. Place the pickling spice in a cheese cloth and tie it shut; add to the peach mixture.

Boil over medium heat for 1 1/2 hours or until nice and thick. Be sure to stir the frequently to prevent sticking.

When the chutney is almost done cooking, bring another pot of water to boil to sterilize your canning jars, lids and bands. It is important that both the jars, lids, bands and chutney be hot while you’re filling the jars. Keep the pot of chutney over the flame while filling the jars. Wipe the rim of the jar before sealing. Once the lid is on and you tighten the band flip the jar upside down and allow it to cool this way. Once cool you can flip them upright and check to see if the lid is sealed down, or if it pops when pushed on. If it pops the jar did not seal and you’ll have to eat it quickly and store in the refrigerator. The sealed jars are safe to place in your pantry to savor later.

Makes: 6 1/2 pints