Friday, March 11, 2016

Plum Chutney

Every year my plum tree delivers a massive load, and every year I say to myself "I must make some chutney, or jam, or sauce, or something"...

Then, three weeks later, most of those plums end up in the compost. But not this year! All it took was a phonecall to my Grandma and then some complicated mathematics converting her recipe from lb's to kg's, and reducing the amounts to what seems reasonable in 2016.

This recipe made five jars. I'm not sure what I would have done with 20, per the original recipe! No wonder Grandma's jam pan is the size of a small pool.

Plum Chutney

1.5kg of plum pieces
900g sugar
400g onions
~40g pickling spices
2 tsp salt

Remove the stones from your plums before weighing them. This is the most time consuming part. I just used a knife and cut around the stone. Obviously you remove any bird poo or bugs at the same time. :)

Put the plums, onions, sugar and salt in a wide pan and add enough vinegar to almost cover them. I used apple cider vinegar.

Add the pickling spices. The correct method is to tie them in a muslin bag, however I discovered a lack of muslin in my house and therefore just added the spices to the other ingredients and carefully removed the cinnamon sticks later.

The spices I added were:
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp cloves
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp allspice
pinch of cardamom powder

Then you cover the chutney and let it boil for four hours. I adjusted the heat so that it was bubbling but not boiling over.

After four hours you have decisions to make. At this point you can strain off some of the liquid for plum sauce, or you can take the lid off and let it simmer for another hour or two until it thickens. That's what I did.

I sterilised my jars using a short hot wash in the dishwasher, let the chutney cool a little then filled the jars and lidded them. You are supposed to seal the jars with wax or use a special preserving lid in order to prevent spoilage. However, I don't think this chutney will be around long enough to worry about that.

This really is a delicious chutney, sweet enough to be a jam. When the peaches come along in a few weeks, I will try a lower sugar version, using some leaves from our stevia plant. I'm not too concerned with the sugar content of this chutney, after all you don't eat it by the cupful, but I think it will be a fun experiment in food chemistry to make a 'diabetic friendly' version.

I hope you have a wonderful week, and if you have any ideas for preserves that involve peaches, grapes or elderberries, please link it up in the comments. Our garden is small, but has a short prolific phase of everything-at-once and I'm determined to make the most of it this year!

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