Plums when in season are so versatile, I would usually use up a glut of plums by making plentiful amounts of Plum Jam. This year we decided to use half of our garden plums to make chutney, two versions, one spicy and the other batch tangy and saucy. This recipe has proven to be a big hit already and is a tasty accompaniment to meats, cheeses and makes a delicious dip with crudité platter and if you find yourself making a large batch and you can dress your jars up to be well presented these can make a lovely gift. Fruit crumbles are another good way to use up seasonal batches of Plums too.
Did you know that plums are thought to be one of the earliest fruits used by man, Plum remains have been found in Neolithic age archaeological sites along with olives, grapes and figs? Towards the end of the tomato season we often end up with lots of green tomatoes that didn’t manage to ripen up, so again we always use those in a chutney recipe and this is always very popular in our house too. We will most likely be making the green tomato chutney again later in the year. Chutney is surprisingly easy to make and so tasty.
1kg plums, halved and stoned
2 medium sized Bramley apples (approx 350g, 12oz), peeled, cored and chopped
250g onions, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes chopped
150g raisins or sultanas
250g light muscovado sugar
500ml red or white wine vinegar
Spice of choice to taste, we like to add a little chili.
Use these measures as a guide but just remember to increase accordingly for each additional KG of plums you use.
Enough sterilized jars with vinegar proof lids.
A non-corrosive pan, a jam making pan is perfect, (but don’t worry too much about that. Don’t use copper pans.)
Long handled wooden spoon
Sterilizing the jars
I prefer the oven method of sterilizing jars.
Put the oven on at 120c or Gas mark 1
Wash the jars thoroughly with hot soapy water, making sure to do the same for the lids. Rinse well.
Put the jars and lids upside-down into the pre-heated oven on a shelf for roughly 10 -15 mins.
Leave in the oven until you are ready to use them, this should keep them sterile.
Start by washing the plums well before carefully cutting in half to remove the stone and stalk.
Once prepared, add the plums to a heavy based pan with the rest of the prepared ingredients and bring up to a steady boil then reduce the heat to a steady simmer for an hour, remembering to keep a check on the chutney and giving a regular stir to avoid any sticking. After an hour’s simmering the chutney should have reduced down and be rich in colour and smell delicious. Take a spoon of chutney out and taste for personal adjustments to flavour, add a little more spice or chilli as you like.
You should now have your hot jars ready, but be cautious when handling both the sterilized jars and the hot chutney.
I usually stand up the jars in rows on a metal tray, I use a tea towel to hold the jars as I gently spoon the plum chutney into each jar, then tighten down the lids while still hot. The lids should make a tight seal as the contents cool. Now label your jars of delicious homemade plum chutney and for best taste, leave for a few weeks to settle. But I usually start using some the day because it’s so yummy. I like to make the chutney together with my husband and he makes a batch of more spicy chutney for himself with extra chilli. Keep your finished unopened homemade chutney in a cool, dark, dry place. Sunlight can have an effect on the colour and humid places may cause fermentation. Chutneys and pickles have at least a year’s shelf life. Whichever version of the plum chutney you decide to make I hope you enjoy making and eating it.