|I woke up to frost one morning this week….I can’t remember what day….they all seem to run together this time of year. I quickly ran out and sprayed the frost off all of the sensitive plants like tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplants and basils. So there I was, out in the freezing morning air, with my long johns, mittens and rain gear on, watering! I’ll bet the neighbors thought I had finally gone off my rocker! If you can get the frost off of the leaves of your plants before the suns hits them, they will not burn and die. It worked!
I had several visitors come by the gardens this week. It is always so wonderful when people come and comment on what we are trying to do here. It makes it all worth while. Tim, the executive chef from the Northern brought Natasha, a delightful young woman from the Downtown Business Association by; Beth, a shop owner/artist/photographer on Montana Ave came by and we commiserated on ways that we might use some of my lavender and other products to sell there; and Sherie, the woman that organizes the fundraiser that I purchase my peaches from brought her parents by who were visiting from Texas! All of the visitors came by on one day. Barbara commented that it was time for me to get back to work and quite chattering! What can I say? I am a true Gemini and we are born communicators and I love to show off my garden.
Harvesting is a daily chore nowadays, as everything is producing. Even the tomatoes and peppers are coming on. This weeks share will include the tomatoes, green pepper, radish, kale, cucumbers, summer squash, bunching onions and the beautiful beets. Make sure you use the tops! I always have the scraggly, not so perfect ones left overs from your harvest, so I chop them up, blanch for a few minutes and freeze in zip lock bags to use during the winter in soups and stews.
I managed to find some time on Friday to bake, can and freeze a couple lugs of organic Colorado peaches that I purchased. These peaches never fail to please. They are my favorite peach, and I purchase them every year. I now have a couple of peach pies, a cobbler, and several bags of slices in the freezer, a peach chutney, and all of the pits and peelings are infusing in white wine vinegar to use in dressings and other culinary endeavors.
First step in preparing the peaches for Chutney is to peel them and cut into small chunks.
Everything is in the pot, cooking down into a nice thick spicy and sweet sauce.
After processing in a water bath for 30 minutes, they are ready to label and store for the season.
Spicy Peach Chutney
Cook Time: 2 Hrs
Yield 6 – 1/2 pints
- 4 pounds sliced peeled peaches
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 cloves garlic, minced ( I always add more)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 5 ounces chopped preserved ginger
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder( I used my own dried cayenne peppers)
- 1 tablespoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 4 cups packed brown sugar
- 4 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup pickling spice
- In a large heavy pot, stir together the peaches, raisins, garlic, onion, preserved ginger, chili powder, mustard seed, curry powder, brown sugar and cider vinegar. Wrap the pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag, and place in the pot.
- Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat uncovered until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to get a good thick sauce. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.
Remove the spice bag, and ladle into hot sterilized jars. Wipe the rims with a clean moist cloth. Seal with lids and rings, and process in a barely simmering water bath for 10 minutes depending on the size of jar. I use pint jars and processed for 30 minutes. The water should cover the jars completely.
This is the perfect time to grab some of those peaches that are available at the farmers market or roadside stands. Try to purchase organic if available. All soft skinned fruits absorb the pesticides that are sprayed on them. The ones you usually get at the grocers are hard as rocks, have no flavor and do not ripen….and they are expensive. If I am going to spend the money, I want them to be safe to eat, juicy, sweet and flavorful.