Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Donut Peaches and Nectarine Mustard

Last week the first white donut peaches of the year arrived at our house. After eating as many out of hand as we could hold, say 4 or 5 apiece, I pulled the skin off a flat of peaches and put them in the freezer for future smoothies. Then we ate a few more. The next flat went into the pot to make a favorite condiment, Nectarine Mustard. I know, these were peaches, but the original recipe called for nectarines and so it will always be known.

DH and I were discussing the difference between peaches and nectarines and, other than the peach fuzz that is lacking on nectarines, we couldn't think of any other. I've read that nectarines are usually smaller than peaches but over the last several years the nectarines we've had are often softball size while the peaches are closer to baseballs. In size, not feel! And then there are these small donut peaches. DH always swears that when the nectarines are at their ripest they are sweeter than any peach but since we rarely have them ripe at the same time to compare I think I'll just say the difference is in the skin.

So some years I make nectarine mustard with nectarines and sometimes I make it with peaches. As long as I use fragrant, juicy-ripe fruit it tastes great with no noticeable difference in flavor. The picture above shows this year's peaches with a little jar of last year's nectarine mustard.

We use this mustard for almost everything -- it's excellent for dipping pretzels, spreading on a sandwich or adding to ham salad with a little mayonnaise. The recipe calls for granulated sugar but I substitute local honey when available. Sometimes I reduce the amount of honey to 1/4 or 1/3 cup since it has more sweetening power than regular sugar but if I leave it at 1/2 cup the mustard makes an excellent honey mustard dressing with only a bit of yogurt added upon opening to give it a creamier pouring consistency.

I found the original recipe on the web about 7 years ago and it was attributed to the El Dorado County (CA) Master Preservers. They have a page of their own now but don't currently include this recipe. The only cookbook I have that lists a recipe for Nectarine Mustard is "The Glass Pantry: Preserving Seasonal Flavors" by Georgeanne Brennan but when I prepared it I thought it hotter and more vinegary than this one.

Nectarine Mustard

1/2 cup dry mustard
1 cup cider vinegar, 5% acidity
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups ripe nectarines, peeled, pitted and pureed

Combine mustard and enough water to make a smooth paste. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and *whisk 1/4 cup hot mixture into mustard paste till smooth. Repeat from * twice more, then pour all mustard mixture into saucepan with remaining fruit blend. Puree in blender/food processor until smooth.

Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims, adjust lids, and rings. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Yield: 3 half-pints

Note: I successfully triple this recipe using a small dutch oven on the stove. The recipe works with peaches instead of nectarines and honey can sub for regular sugar.

Check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammysrecipes.com for more kitchen how-to.


Michele said...

This sounds so good! :) I'll definitely have to try this.

(By the way, I personally think nectarines and peaches taste completely different- but maybe it's just me.) :)

Michele :)

Carolyn said...

Just received two boxes of nectarines with a request for a few jars of mustard in return so the next batch will really be Nectarine Mustard.

DH thinks nectarines are way sweeter than peaches but I swear if you offered me peeled peaches and nectarines blindfolded I couldn't tell them apart. Now different varieties of apples are another story. Maybe I just haven't had enough exposure to different types of peaches and nectarines -- I'm game to experiment!