pickles & preserves

Portugese plum chutney

Spicy Plum Chutney

Continuing on the theme of preserves and ways to use up excess produce, my wife was busy again this week making plum chutney…over to her….

In addition to figs from our neighbours, which we used to make fig jam , another glut of ripe, delicious Portuguese fruit came our way this week – yellow plums from my mum’s orchard. After eating as many as we could, we still had bowlfuls of them left, so decided to make some chutney.

I used a recipe that I tweaked slightly from the wonderful Complete Book of Preserves and Pickles – an indispensible handbook for anyone growing their own fruit and vegetables. As with all recipes like this, it is possible to adapt it to the produce you have available and to suit your own tastes, so experiment and have fun. The book can be found here:

Complete Book Preserves & Pickle


Spicy Plum Chutney

Spicy Plum Chutney


2lb yellow plums, halved and pitted
1 large finely chopped onion
2 inch piece root ginger, grated
3 whole star anise
1.5 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
4 big sliced celery sticks
3 hot red chillies
2 crushed garlic cloves

1. Boil half of the white wine vinegar with the plums, onion, ginger and star anise in a large pan.

2. Simmer until the plums have softened (this will depend on how ripe your plums are to start with – it took about 15 minutes for ours).

3. Stir the rest of the vinegar and all the remaining ingredients into the pan.

4. Cook gently until the sugar has dissolved, remove the star anise and bring to the boil.

5. Simmer until the mixture is thick and chunky and there is no liquid left – i.e. until it looks like chutney. This took us just under two hours, but check and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick.

6. Turn off the heat and tip the chutney into sterilised, pre-heated Kilner jars.

7. Cover the chutney in each jar with a small disk of baking parchment cut to size.

Store the jars in a cool, dark place for anywhere up to two years.

Like most chutneys, this should be refrigerated after opening and used within about three months.