We got a new freezer the other day – replacing one of those ancient chest freezers (it had a ‘D’ efficiency rating can you believe?!) with no baskets, which was hell if you ever wanted to actually find anything. As a result, of course, I now have a freezer drawer filled with about 6kg of last year’s plums which were loitering at the very bottom of the pile of frozen goods. And as it wont be long until we start to harvest this year’s crop, l need to get using them up pretty quick.
Our Victoria plum tree is generally really prolific, and because there is only so much jam, plum crumble and plum cake I can manage (really!), for a while now I have been after a plum chutney recipe I actually liked. Our preference is for spicy and fragrant Indian style chutneys, that we can eat as a side with curry, dhal and flat-breads, as well as being a great addition to a sandwich. So last autumn, I decided to try substituting plums for mangos in an Indian mango chutney recipe… It worked really well, so I am sharing it here in case you have a glut of plums of your own this year (or maybe some from last year to use up!).
1 kg plums, yellow flesh type
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or ghee
10g fresh ginger (peeled weight)
2 cloves garlic
1 green birdseye chilli
2 teaspoons whole nigella seeds (aka kalonji or onion seeds)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
300g granulated sugar
175g white vinegar
Makes about 2 450g jars.
- Prepare the plums, by halving and de-stoning them. Put to one side in a large bowl. You can use them straight from frozen if you have some already prepped.
- Chop the chilli, garlic and ginger very small and put in a small bowl/on a small plate.
- Measure out the spices and salt onto another plate/bowl.
- Heat the oil or ghee in a large non-reactive heavy-based pan. When it is hot, add the ginger, garlic and chilli and fry, stirring all the time, until they are softened and have taken on a tiny bit of colour (just the tiniest amount).
- Add the spices and salt and cook for about a minute.
- Add the chopped plums, vinegar and sugar and stir until everything is combined.
- Bring to a very low simmer and cook for an 1 or 2 hours until it is a lovely thickened and fragrant chutney. If the plums were very juicy (or frozen like the ones I used) it might take quite a long time for the plums to cook down, so it’s tricky to be specific about the time. You know it is done because it will come together to a lumpy sauce like consistency (sorry, terrible description!).
- Pot up, whilst still very hot, in pots that have recently been through the dishwasher and have been warmed through in the oven. Whilst still hot, screw on non-reactive lids which you should soak in boiling water for 5 minutes before using.
I also made strawberry and rhubarb jam yesterday, which is fantastic for this time of year when strawberries are going strong and good rhubarb is still available – I really recommend this recipe, which is simple and works out really well – no need for pectin either which is always good.