All things peaches

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For those of you looking for all the peach recipes, here they are-with my modifications and notes! Enjoy!

Peach Chutney from Ball Blue Book of Preserving:
yield about 7 pints

4 quarts finely chopped, peeled, pitted peaches (about 20 medium)
2-3 cups brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup mustard seed
2 tbsp ginger
2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 hot red pepper, finely chopped
5 cups vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Simmer until thick. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot chutney into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Recipe variation: For a milder chutney: remove seeds from hot pepper.
Note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.

My notes and variations:
I always think that the Ball Blue Book is a little vague in their recipe instructions. For example, what kind of ginger-ground, fresh, etc.? I always think fresh is best so I took about a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, removed the skin and then grated it. But remember, a little ginger goes a LONG way! So don’t overdo it on the ginger. And I used about 15 peaches of various sizes. And I just peeled the peaches and then pitted them. The skins went to the chickens too. I did use garlic because who doesn’t love garlic! And I went easy on the brown sugar. And I added way more than 1 cup raisins! I think the best thing about chutney is you can pretty much whatever you want to your tastes. I used some jarred hot peppers we had in the refrigerator. Just two little pieces because I don’t like super hot.

I also used my immersion blender to blend things up a bit. You typically want the chutney to be chunky but I thought my peaches and onions were just too chunky so I used the blender to blend it just a bit. I also don’t like that the recipe doesn’t give you a time frame on how long to cook the chutney. But again, chutney tends to be thicker and I didn’t time it. But it definitely takes at least 30 minutes for the chutney to thicken up.

And my yield was 12 half-pints. I liked half-pints since it’s just two of us here and half-pints seem the right amount per serving for us. And of course, the chutney will be better the longer it’s allowed to meld together. So we won’t be opening any chutney for a couple of months, at least. But I can’t wait to have it alongside some pork or chicken or even a nice venison roast.

And now for the spicy peach jam:

Peach Jam with Sriracha from Preserving by the Pint
Makes 3 half-pint jars

1 dry quart peaches (about 2 pounds)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sriracha
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Prepare a boiling water bath and 3 half-pint jars (according to the process on page 11). Place 3 lids in a small saucepan of water and bring to a gentle simmer.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While it heats, cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Fill a large bowl two-thirds of the way up with cold water. Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, then immediately transfer to the ice water.

Once they are cool enough to touch, slip off the skins and halve and pit the peaches. Place the peaches in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Using a potato masher, smash them into a pulp. Stir in the sugar and let the fruit sit for a few minutes, until the sugar is mostly dissolved.

To cook, scrap the fruit into a large skillet, add the lemon juice, and place over medium-high heat. Stirring regularly, bring the fruit to a boil and cook until it bubbles and looks quite thick, 10 to 12 minutes. It’s done when you pull a spatula through the jam and it doesn’t immediately rush in to fill the space you’ve cleared. In the couple of minutes of cooking, stir in the sriracha.

Remove the jam from the heat and funnel into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

My notes and variations:
Okay. So I made this jam for the Mister. He likes spicy. I don’t like overly spicy so this seemed right up his alley. I didn’t blanch and then peel the peaches. I did as I did above and just peeled them. It was pretty easy. Blanching seemed like so much extra work! Everything else I did exactly as written. And I wish I hadn’t! I looked at the recipe and once I had the peach-sugar mixture cooked down, 1/4 cup of sriracha seemed like a LOT! And it was. You can’t even tell there’s peaches in the jam. It’s more like a sriracha jam. And it’s not good. I’m wondering if the amount of sriracha is a mistake. I’ve read a lot of this book and most don’t have mistakes, but I noticed this recipe has some mistakes. For example, it says to cut peaches in half and pit and then blanch. And then right under that it says after blanching, cut peaches in half and pit. It’s not a big deal, but I’m wondering if this recipe just has some mistakes. I would definitely make it again, but cut the sriracha way back to maybe a tablespoon or so. We decided to use this jam as a base for chicken wings or mix it in barbecue sauce. Our yield was 4 small jars, thankfully! I can’t imagine we’ll be running out of “Spicy Peach Jam” any time soon. Do yourself a favor and cut the sriracha back if you decide to make this recipe.

And for information on water bath canning as per instructions about, click here.

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