03 September 2016

Weekend Cooking: 2 Recipes for Preserving the Summer

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

2 Recipes for Preserving the Summer HarvestI love this time of year at the farmers market--the tables are still overflowing with produce and especially some of my favorite fruits: Italian (prune) plums, apples, peaches, and pears.

I usually spend the fall baking crisps, cooking up applesauce, making chutneys, and otherwise preserving summer goodness. Because there's just the two of us, I've gotten into small-batch processing, and because I no longer bother with canning, everything has to be freezer friendly.

This week I made prune plum chutney and peach butter. I developed the recipes by reading a few books, doing an Internet search, and then combining a little from this source and a little from that source. So these are more or less my own recipes.

Each makes only a couple of pints. I put half in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer. I've never tried to scale up these recipes or tried to can them, so I can't help you on those accounts. I can, however, tell you that the results of these recipes are delicious!

Italian (Prune / Stanley) Plum Chutney (recipe by Beth Fish Reads)
    Italian Prune Plum Chutney from Beth Fish Reads
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 generous tablespoon grated gingerroot
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion (to taste)
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cups seeded and quartered prune plums (about 20)
Mix the sugars and cider in a 6-quart heavy stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Add the raisins, ginger, onion, garlic, mustard seeds, salt, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix well. Add the plums and stir to coat.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer, stirring frequently, 60 to 70 minutes. The mixture will reduce and thicken. About halfway through the cooking process, taste the chutney and adjust the spices and sugar to your taste.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and let sit about 15 minutes to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to jars and store in the refrigerator for a few months or in the freezer for even longer.

Note: So how will you know it's done? I've read all kinds of tests (see if the chutney will mound on a plate, see if you can make a clean space on the bottom of the pot, etc.), but if I keep the chutney at a slow simmer for 60 to 70 minutes it always sets up once cool. So I don't test.

Peach Butter with Basil (recipe by Beth Fish Reads)
    Peach Butter with Basil from Beth Fish Reads
  • 7 cups cut-up peaches (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Place the peaches, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, butter and basil in a 6-quart heavy stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer, stirring frequently, about 60 minutes. About halfway through the cooking process, taste the peach butter and adjust the spices or sugar to your tastes.

Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender to break up the cooked peaches. (Don't worry about a few lumps.) Turn the heat back to medium-low and return the peach butter to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and let sit about 15 minutes to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to jars and store in the refrigerator for a few months or in the freezer for even longer.

Note: So how will you know it's done? Like the chutney, I don't do a test. I have never had an issue with the butter setting up as long as I cook it about an hour before blending it. Note too, that the consistency should be like a thick applesauce. This will not set up like a jelly or jam.


rhapsodyinbooks 9/3/16, 6:44 AM  

There was also a recipe using prune plums in STIR that looked good. Did you see it? I was thinking of trying it.

Mae Travels 9/3/16, 6:57 AM  

Chutney is one of my favorite fall recipes too -- made from plums, peaches, or both; or in spring, mangos (we get good imported mangos then). It tastes best after aging a couple of weeks, as far as I'm concerned, and it keeps for quite a long time thanks to the combination of vinegar and sugar.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 9/3/16, 9:14 AM  

You brought back memories! I used to climb our prune plum tree and eat like a queen when I was a kid! Great recipe!
I only brought a humble salad this week,

Deb in Hawaii 9/3/16, 11:40 AM  

I think few things are more satisfying than making something (jams, chutneys, pickles...) from a bounty of produce. Both of these recipes look like tasty combinations--I especially love the ginger and basil in that peach butter. Yum! ;-)

Claudia 9/3/16, 11:50 AM  

I know what you mean, with summer fruit ripening all around us in the garden as well as in the markets, every region with their special varieties and types. I've done pineapple chutney and today I'm making passion fruit jam.

Katherine P 9/3/16, 11:59 AM  

I love peach butter! It's one of my absolute favorite things. I need to start thinking more about preserving like this. I always end up letting fruit or vegetables go bad because I don't naturally think about preserving. Great post!

Jackie McGuinness 9/3/16, 12:44 PM  

These sound good. funny, had friends to dinner last night and they brought a couple of interesting compotes.

Peaceful Reader 9/3/16, 2:46 PM  

These both sound amazing. My grandmother used to make apple and peach butter; the addition of basil kicks it up a notch. Yum. Have a great long weekend.

Nan 9/3/16, 3:39 PM  

One time, many years ago, we made apple jelly from crabapples. I've meant to do it again ever since. We didn't can it either. It all went in the freezer, and was the best tasting I'd ever had. It is very hard to find apple jelly anymore. It was big when I was a kid. When I do find some it is loaded with stuff I don't want to eat as well as being non-organic. I really should make some more. Our land is full of crabapple trees. Thanks for the push.

Vicki 9/3/16, 4:25 PM  

I've eaten apple butter but not peach butter. Both of your recipes sound good!

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 9/4/16, 8:22 AM  

I can't wait to make your chutney! Thanks for hosting.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 9/4/16, 10:59 AM  

I hate to admit that I've never had chutney but all the ingredients together sound amazing. What would I eat it with? I love the idea of canning in small amounts. There have been a few recipes that I've tried and turns out one can would have been enough but we are stuck with 8 or so. On the other hand, we are almost out of the jam I made in the spring. I might have to sneak in one more session before the berries are done for the year!

Cecelia 9/4/16, 12:22 PM  

Those recipes sound delicious, but I'm especially interested in the peach butter! I'll have to bookmark it and come back once I've found some good peaches (the ones I bought this week got moldy after A DAY (1 DAY!)(I was so disappointed).

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