Strolling happily into my favorite grocery store, I was drawn magnetically to a display of beautiful nectarines. I instinctively picked one up, held it to my nose and took a deep breath. The smell was ripe and richly sweet, reminiscent of its cousin the peach. Like big baseballs of burgundy, red and gold, their skin was smooth and soft. Who could resist. I had to bring a few pounds home to make nectarine and tomato chutney.
Nectarine Chutney – A Summer Treasure
Besides eating one out of hand, I love to make nectarine chutney. For me, it’s one of the pleasures of summer cooking. Nectarine tomato chutney is a quick and delicious accompaniment to chicken, pork tenderloin, or even fish. Spread a thick layer on a turkey sandwich or turkey burger for a fantastic twist. Plop some on a plate next to skewers of sizzling grilled shrimp.
So what is chutney? According to The New Food Lovers Companion (a must have reference book for any food lover), chutney is a spicy condiment that contains fruit, vinegar, sugar and spices with textures ranging from smooth to chunky and from mild to hot in terms of spice.
I adapted this recipe from the July 2001 Gourmet Magazine. It calls for apple cider vinegar, which works fine and is always in the pantry. If you want to try something better, try Sun-Dried Apricot Vinegar from Cuisine Perel. It’s available from online gourmet suppliers and direct from Cuisine Perel. Treat yourself to a bottle.
While you are at it, you may want to try the blood orange or spicy pecan flavored vinegars. Both have wonderful flavors and are very versatile. After you’ve made your chutney, make some sun-dried apricot vinaigrette for a tossed green salad with nectarine slices. Click on the name above to be linked to the recipe.
As many chutney recipes do, this recipe uses curry powder. Like chili powder, curry powder is a blend of spices. These aromatic blends range from mild and sweet to pungent and hot. I like sweet curry powder from Penzeys, which is not hot. It’s a blend of turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, fennel, cinnamon, white pepper, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Penzeys offers eight others blends for you to choose from so check out their website. If you are unsure of cooking with curry powder in terms of flavor, the sweet curry powder is a good one to start with. Another terrific spice purveyor is Savory Spice Shop.
At the end of last summer I promised myself I’d make some of this wonderful chutney and can a few jars to enjoy during the winter and give as Christmas gifts. It’s nice in the fall when nectarines are but a summer memory. A new 10-quart Fagor pressure canner is waiting in my cupboard. I’d better get busy before they are gone, leaving me longing for next summer’s crop.
I am finally canned my chutney! I bought a Fagor 10 quart pressure canner with their canning kit. A 4x batch of chutney produces 5 1/2 to 6 – 8 ounce jars of chutney. I canned 5 and put the 1/2 jar in the fridge. The batch was juicy so I sprinkled in 3 tablespoons of Signature Secrets and let simmer for a few extra minutes, about 40-45 minutes in total for such quantity. It was cooked in a 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset pot.
Fagor 10 quart pressure cooker/canner, on Amazon
Fagor home canning kit, on Amazon
Signature Secrets culinary thickener, at King Arthur
Nectarine and Tomato Chutney
- 1 lb ripe firm nectarines, skinned, flesh cut from the pit and diced small
- 2 Roma tomatoes drained of juices, quartered, seeded and diced small
- 1 large garlic clove pressed or minced fine
- 1/4 cup sun-dried apricot vinegar cider vinegar, blood orange or spicy pecan vinegar
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar or raw coconut crystals
- 1 teaspoon Penzeys Sweet Curry Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Culinary thickener such as Signature Secrets if needed
- In a 2-quart heavy saucepan simmer nectarines, tomato, garlic, vinegar, brown sugar, curry powder, and salt, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened but still saucy, about 20 minutes. Serve warm, room temperature or cooled. What you don’t use will keep for a few days refrigerated.
- Note – If the chutney is really juicy, you can cook it down a bit more for your preferred consistency or use a little culinary thickener. I keep Signature Secrets on hand for such uses and it works great in this recipe.
- Canning notes:
- I use a Fagor 10 quart pressure canner with their canning kit. A 4x batch of chutney produces 5 1/2 to 6 – 8 ounce jars of chutney. I canned 5 and put the 1/2 jar in the fridge. The batch was juicy so I sprinkled in 3 tablespoons of Signature Secrets and let simmer for a few extra minutes, about 40-45 minutes in total for such quantity. I cooked it in a 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset pot.
- After filling sterilized jars and twisting on the lids, I did the steam vent process (cooker closed but unlocked) for 10 minutes, then locked the pressure cooker and processed at high pressure for 10 minutes.This is all in the Fagor canning guide. After that, allow for a natural pressure release.
- When pressure is gone, remove jars and place on a towel or wire rack. Allow to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. You will know they are ready when the vacuum seal happens. The lids will be depressed in the center versus popped up. Store away for a rainy day or for gifts.