Peach and date chutney
Preserve summer's sweetness for months to come.
Rosy-yellow, fragrant peaches remind me of past summers, young love and uncomplicated happiness. To hold a beautiful, succulent peach in my hand still makes me happy.
In summer I would savor peaches just as they came out of my shopping bag. A quick rinse under the tap, and the warm, sweet fruit would disappear in juicy bites. It was enough.
Now, I find ways to preserve that abundance and sweetness for a later time. Peach jam, or peach liqueur, or peach chutney. Come winter, peach cobbler made from frozen July peaches. Flavors of early summer, savored again.
In Israel, summers stretch out for a while. But my summers are slipping away as the years dissolve behind me. I find myself longing to keep those hot days, just a little while longer, even if only trapped in jars and spooned out in translucent dollops.
So I return to my kitchen laden with peaches that remind me of youth and careless love. I summon my skills. Let me try to stop time with sugar and spices.
Today, it’ll be chutney.
- 6 peaches, not over-ripe
- 1/2 cup pitted, chopped dates
- 1/2 cup dark raisins
- 2 medium onions, chopped fine
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
- 6 cardamom seeds
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Cut slices away from the peaches until only the pits are left. Cut the slices into thirds, reserving any juice.
Remove the husks from the cardamom seeds either by bruising them in a mortar or by enclosing them in a kitchen towel and rolling a rolling pin over them. Pick out the dry, husky pieces and crush the black seeds with the mortar and pestle or some heavy object.
Put everything into a heavy pot over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Allow to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat when the chutney is thick. Store in sterilized jars or in the refrigerator. Allow to mellow for a month before serving.
Adapted from 'Jams & Preserves' by Jill Norman.