Saturday, 22 March 2014

Nectarine chutney

Mr. Pickings and I love a good road-trip, especially to one of our fave spots- northern NSW.
Byron Bay hinterland (photo from
We steer clear of the heavily-touristed and expensive parts like Byron Bay, and head for them thar hills!  Or Ballina--which is right on the river and also very close to the sea so that you can encounter sea-turtles and dolphins in the river, and in the season, whales just past the breakwaters.  We once had the pleasure of seeing a dolphin leaping around in front of us right next to the riverbank, only a metre away.  I think my favourite would have to be the sea-turtles; they are slow and ponderous and just lovely to watch.  (And also in danger from speedboats, plastic rubbish and discarded fishing lines).

beautiful sea turtle (image from

It is also a foodies' paradise down there with coffee and macadamia plantations, farmers' markets,  a well-known cookie company and lots of great little cafes serving local and often organic foods.
I have an old clipping from a magazine with a recipe for Byron Bay nectarine chutney, and once a year when the fruit is plentiful, I get cracking and make a big batch.  There are lots of chutney recipes on the Net so you can try all sorts of variations accordingly.  But here is the one I have used with a few of my own little changes.


1 kg nectarines- chopped into small chunks
2 onions finely chopped
500g sultanas or raisins- I like sultanas!
150g glace ginger
850g-1kg sugar- depends how sweet you like it
3-4 small red chillies chopped finely
4 tsp yellow mustard seeds
700ml vinegar- I like to use a mix of white wine, sherry and whatever other vinegar I have in the pantry
1-2 tsp salt-  I had used 1 tsp but found it needed more


Shove everything into a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and mix it all up together
bring to the boil, then simmer with frequent stirring to prevent sticking for anything from 1.5 hours to 3 hours
then bottle in sterilised jars and whack in the fridge for up to a year.  I know it sounds scary to cook for so long but you can do lots of other things in between and just give it a stir every so often.  I think it may have been that my nectarines were very unripe- more like apples-that it took so long to thicken.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that I didn't turn the stove-top high enough so that it wasn't particularly hot even after an hour.  So learn from my mistakes- make sure the heat is high enough and try to get ripe fruit.  The recipe says it should only take an hour and a half, and I have made it in that time before!

beautiful fruit ready for the chop
everything chopped and ready for the pan

ok here we go- 3 hours of simmering to come
see my beautiful wooden stirring spoon-it came from the mantelpiece of an old homestead in Tenterfield

looking thick after a couple of hours

ladle the chutney into a Pyrex jug so you can easily pour it into the jars

the end result!  lots of lovely jars of chutney to see you through till next stone fruit season-unless you eat it all first...


  1. We love the Byron Bay area too. I have no problem with the touristy place but honestly, some of those folks are weird. :)

    I love your chutney and I should get in the kitchen and make some.

  2. The stone fruit is so plentiful at the moment and I have a kilo of nectarines that I can't get through. Thanks for the timely recipe! :D


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