Peach chutney is a condiment made of fruit, sugar, and an acid-like vinegar. This chutney is very popular in many cuisines, including English, American, and South African. Although chutneys are common in India, peach chutneys are more popular in Western cuisines. The chutney may be sweet and spicy or sweet and savory, depending on the spices and other ingredients used. Many cooks serve it with meats, such as chicken, pork, or ham, as well as fish.
Although many people eat peach chutneys on meats, they are also popular as bread spreads. In India, chutney and fried bread, called roti, make a good snack or side dish for a meal. Indian chutneys are typically made fresh for each meal, but in other cuisines, the chutneys are preserved by refrigeration or canning in jars.
Generally, when making a fruit chutney, a cook boils the vinegar and sugar together before adding the other ingredients. The vinegar may be cider, wine, or malt vinegar. Some people prefer the lighter flavor of lemon juice, but the acid of vinegar is a better preservative. The sugar may be white or brown sugar.
The spices a cook uses to make the peach chutney affect the flavor. Sweeter chutneys often have spices like cinnamon, whereas savory peach chutneys rely on mustard seeds, cumin, and other heartier spices. Ginger — both freshly grated and dry —, red chilies, and black pepper add a zesty flavor.
Peppers are another common ingredient. Sweet red peppers may be used in sweet peach chutney or the more savory version. Jalapeno peppers and dried or fresh chili peppers are frequently added to the hot, savory chutneys. Garlic, onions, and shallots are also popular additions.
Sweet peach chutney often contains other fruits. Sweet or green apples add texture and flavor. A cook may add bananas, raisins, and other fruits. Any type of raisin may be added, including white and golden raisins.
When cooking the peach chutney, firmer peaches need longer cooking. Longer cooking time also thickens the syrup, but it is easy to scorch the chutney. The old method of cooking chutney was slow on very low heat. Most modern recipes suggest higher temperatures, which increase the chance of ruining the batch. A cook needs to be vigilant when making cooked chutneys.
There are several places to find recipes for peach chutneys. Frequently, a cook can find recipes by searching the Internet for "peach chutney recipe." Some food authors have written cookbooks that feature chutney recipes. Often books on Indian cuisine or relishes and preserves have recipes for peach chutneys.