Every year, especially when the busiest pantry-filling season arrives, I try to limit jars-related posts in case some of you, my dear readers, become totally bored with the preserving subject. This Peach Sauce is one of these which didn’t fit into my last year’s “quota” and I promised myself I wouldn’t skip it this summer. My recent discoveries of Jed’s (Sportsglutton) fabulous Peachy Western Bacon Cheeseburger and Eva’s (Kitchen Inspirations) marvellous Peach Salsa reminded me to present you this simple, but highly palatable hot and sweet sauce.
As some of you know, I am addicted to the mixture of sweet and hot flavours. This is one of the reasons why, instead of standard jams, “fruit” shelves in my pantry are mainly filled with hot sauces, jellies, chutneys and similar products. Most of them go exceptionally well with both Western and Asian dishes, so I will not exaggerate if I say I do not imagine my life without them. Some taste better with seafood, some with poultry, grilled meat, skewers, toasts or simple sandwiches and other, like this peach sauce, enhance practically every savoury meal or snack.
Visually and technically this sauce is very close to Mango and Chili Sauce I wrote about in June. It is equally beautiful, easy and quick to prepare. In spite of a slight tanginess, this sauce is more versatile, probably due to a subtler fruit aroma. If you feel tempted by this simple preserve, now is probably the best moment to profit from ripe, end-of-season peaches.
Whatever you do with peaches, do not throw out the peel. It can be used to prepare amazingly good Peach Peel Butter.
In case you want to experiment with fruits and chili, you might also like these:
Hot Strawberry Sauce
Mango and Chili Sauce
Apricot and Chili Jelly
TIPS: Vinegar and sugar amounts depend on the fruits’ sweetness and the ones below are only an example. Some peaches require more sugar and some more vinegar. Always put down the exact amounts so that you know what you should modify next time you preserve.
The hotness of this sauce should be adapted to your own preferences and your resistance. The below chili amounts are only an example and depend also on the chili variety. Several tips for those who are not used to handle hot peppers:
1-Wear gloves while washing or cutting them !
2- Add your peppers gradually. They vary a lot in size, in hotness, and even the same variety can be completely different depending on the season and country of origin. I always first mix peppers in a food processor and then add them gradually until the sauce acquires the desired taste.
3-Do not throw away the seeds if you want the sauce to be even hotter! (they are the hottest part of the peppers).
4- Keep in mind that the warm sauce is always hotter in taste than the cold one… (Wait for the sauce to cool down, taste it and you can reheat it once more adding more chilies if you want).
Preparation: around 30 minutes + a couple of hours for cooling + 20 minutes for processing
Ingredients: (about 3 x 200ml jars, but it depends on the fruits’ juiciness and ripeness)
1 kg (about 2 lbs) peaches
1 T salt
200 g (1 cup) sugar
200 ml (6 3/4 oz) white wine or cider vinegar (mine was 4,5% acid)
preferably fresh, red or green hot peppers (I put 3 flat tablespoons of mixed tiny “bird’s eye” chili peppers and my sauce was really hot)
Cut off the peppers’ stems. Cut in half lengthwise and throw away the seeds (or not! if you want your sauce extra hot).
Mix the peppers in a food processor. Put aside.
Peel the peaches putting them in a big bowl or pan filled with boiling water.
After five minutes empty the bowl/pan and cover them with very cold water.
After 5 more minutes they can be peeled with fingers.
Do not throw away the peel! Make Peach Peel Butter (I promise it’s delicious).
Cut up the flesh. Mix the peaches in a food processor.
Place the mixed peaches, the sugar, the salt and the vinegar in a heavy bottom pan (shouldn’t be aluminium or copper, otherwise the vinegar will react with the metal).
Add the chilies gradually (for example starting with half of the amount). Cook for about 30 minutes. Taste and, optionally, add sugar /vinegar/peppers to adjust the taste.
/At this point you can (after the sauce has cooled down) either freeze it, or keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or process it in the jars, as described below, and store it in your pantry for at least a year./
Pour the sauce, still hot, into sterilised jars. Cover with lids. Leave the jars to cool.
Place the cool jars into a big pan, bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling- water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 15 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the sauce and don’t forget to mark the date (do not forget to put down the exact amounts of every ingredient).
In a dry place, with a moderate temperature, the jars should keep for at least a year.