Ahhh…the stone fruits of summer. Blushing nectarines, luscious peaches, fleshy apricots, jewel-hued plums — they are irresistible this time of year. So when the first August breeze signals fall’s imminent arrival, I start getting wistful at the thought of soon not seeing them on farmers market stands.
Here’s a tasty way to preserve the fruits of summer, if you can manage to set aside enough for a jar or two. As a condiment, this chutney is sweet and tangy, bright and aromatic. The other night, I rubbed it right onto a side of wild salmon, forming a perfect bronzer when placed under the broiler. The fish charred up beautifully, the chutney adding fruity depth and a colorful accompaniment to the dish.
This recipe works well with any combination of your favorite stone fruits. Do spend the time to remove the skins of the fruit for a more refined texture: simply carve a small “x” into the bottom of the fruit, drop them into boiling water, and remove the fruit once the skins start to curl up. The skins will peel off easily with a knife. If you are in the mood to play with different flavors, try adding a pinch of mace, allspice, nutmeg, or even hot chile flakes. Serve this sunny chutney to compliment your summer barbecues, or bottle it up and keep it all year to give chicken, pork, shrimp or fish a radiant flourish.
For another delicious nectarine recipe, try my Kentucky friend’s famous Nectarine Butter.
Makes about 2 pints
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced small
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon pickled ginger with juice, minced
4 nectarines, peeled, pitted and diced
3 apricots, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 cup golden raisins, optional
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 whole cloves
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the ginger, nectarines, apricots, raisins, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
3. Reduce the heat to low, drop in the cinnamon stick and cloves, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened to a jam-like consistency.
4. Cool and serve at room temperature as a condiment.
Note: To preserve the chutney in glass canning jars, prepare a large pot with a rack or basket on the bottom to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pot. The pot should be deep enough so that water covers the tops of the jars by 1 inch. To sterilize the jars, boil them in the water for 10 minutes. Remove them with tongs, drip dry, and carefully ladle the chutney into the hot jars, leaving an inch at the top. Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth and put the lids on the jars. Place the jars back in the pot; they shouldn’t be touching each other or the sides of the pot. Cover the pot and begin timing when water reaches a boil; boil the jars gently and steadily for another 10 minutes. Remove them with the tongs and place the jars on a towel to cool. Check the lids to make sure the lids are sealed. If they have failed to seal, refrigerate them instead. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Photo credit: [Suse] at flickr