I had made it a modest ambition to make peach chutney this year.  It’s our favourite preserve, and I haven’t made it for quite a few years now.  I had visions of buying a large bag of the last of summer’s fragrant peaches from a farmers market, but a quick dash to the fruit shop in my lunch hour had to suffice.  We’d left it a bit late – the mandarins were already appearing in the shop – so some not-so-succulent-looking clingstones were purchased.

Jars were rustled up and Sunday afternoon saw some chopping, measuring, simmering and stirring until nine jars could be filled with hot, spiced, amber-hued chutney.

Peach and Date Chutney

  • 6 peaches
  • 125 g dates, stoned and chopped
  • 125 g raisins
  • 2 onions, chopped finely
  • 375 g brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
  • contents of 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300 ml tarragon vinegar

Plunge the peaches into boiling water, remove skins and stones and slice.  (I found the skins weren’t easily removed from clingstones, but they weren’t thick so I left them on).

Put all ingredients into a large saucepan.  Heat gently until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to boil then simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring from time to time, until mixture is thick.

Put into hot, sterilised jars, cover and store for at least a month before serving.  (I sterilise the jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing and placing upside down in a 100 degree (celsius) oven for a while).

I made double this recipe, which yielded about 3-4 litres of chutney, filling 9 decent-sized jars.  This chutney is especially good with grilled or fried chicken.

[Recipe from Jill Norman’s Jams & Preserves, Doubleday, 1989.]