Spicy Plum Chutney

Sunday 6 September 2009

It won't be long now before they are all gone . . . beautiful English plums. Those lucious ruby coloured gems that taste so sweet and lovely.

We are fortunate enough to have trees filled with several different varieties here on the Estate actually . . . purple Italian, green gages, mirabels and lovely little ordinary ruby coloured ones, whose name escapes me right now . . . they're all lovely and free from pesticides and other chemicals. I guess you could call them organic, except that the orchards that surround us are not pesticide free so . . .

I have frozen bags and bags of them to use up in the winter months ahead. I've made cakes and pies and tarts til they've come out my ears, and lovely they have been too.

I like to keep a bowl of them on the counter and eat them fresh. I leave them until they are just about to go over . . . so soft, sweet and juicy, you need to eat them over the sink . . . that is when they taste the best and the sweetest in my opinion . . . little ruby coloured bites of heaven.

When we have had our fill of fresh, and pies and crumbles, cakes and tarts . . .

I make chutney. Delicious. Sweet. Spicy. Perfect to go with roasted meats or in a very tasty cheese sandwich. Even better in a toasted cheese sandwich, all buttery and crisp on the outside and meltingly cheese and chutney-ee on the insides. Ohh . . . yum, yum . . . I know what I'm having for lunch today . . . wish you could join me, truly I do . . .

*Spicy Plum Chutney*
Makes about 3 pounds
Printable Recipe

This is the perfect time of year to make this delicious chutney. Better do it quick before the plums are all gone!

1.5kg of ripe plums
2 pounds of bramley apples, peeled and chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
450g cooking onions, peeled and chopped
200g sultana raisins
2 star anise
4 cardamom pods, bruised with knife
200g granulated sugar
400ml white wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml port

Stone the plums and chop. Put them into a large saucepan with the garlic cloves, onions, apples, sultanas, star anise, cardamom pods, sugar and 300ml of the white wine vinegar. Season with some salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Simmer for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Add the remaining white wine vinegar and the port. Cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring often, or until thickened. If it still seems a bit runny, simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Place into hot sterilized jars, dividing it equally amongst them. Place a disc of waxed paper directly on top of the hot chutney. (Alternately melt some paraffin wax and pour this immediately over top of the hot chutney. I bring mine over from Canada and it is for the express use of sealing jams and preserves.) Seal with airtight lids and store in a cool dark place for at least one month before using. This will keep up to six months if kept out of sunlight. Refrigerate once opened. Will keep for a further 2 months in the refrigerator.


  1. I'm down to my last little jar of plum chutney from 2 - nay, 3 - years ago! I rely on my sister's tree, which took a rest from fruiting last year and ws on wind-down the year before so we're going this afternoon to get what there is before they all fall off. They're little almost black damson plums.

    You don't see Mirabelles much, not up here anyway. I used to have a lovely traditional French recipe for Tarte aux Mirabelles. I must look it up and see how it turns out with damsons!

    love, Angie, xx

  2. This looks amazing. Wish I had time to make it before heading to Halifax. Maybe next weekend.

  3. you amaze me with all your wonderful cooking----you are very talented lady. just love BOTH of your sites australia

  4. This looks wonderful! I just got some great Himalayan sea salt and organic peppercorns from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com and I think I'll use them in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  5. the canning books do not recommend using parafin to seal an longer, unless hte product is always kept refrigerated. They rec a 10 minute hot water bath processing to be safe.

    that said, my mom made jam and jelly for years and always sealed with parrafin. Just sayin'.

    Thanks for the lovely recipe!

  6. I think the new recommendations reflect the fact that most homes are centrally heated nowadays. The pantry with stone shelves was just fine for storing most preserves....I still use the funny paper disks that I buy in England.

  7. can somebody tell me how to approach doing this recipie with frozen plums? I picked a lot this year adn want to use them but am scared i may ruin them if i dont do it correctly?THANK YOU AND HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

  8. Emma, just cut your frozen plums into chunks, without thawing them out and use them as instructed in the recipe. It should not be a problem. If you have not stoned your plums already before freezing, then you may want to thaw them a bit first so that you can cut them in half and stone them, then proceed as per the recipe. Hope this helps and Merry Christmas to you too!

  9. Oh my goodness, I am so glad I came across this recipe! My friend gave me a jar of Spicy Plum Chutney for Christmas and it's already gone it was so delicious! I too adore it in toasted cheese sandwiches :) even more so now I am in my third pregnancy and it's become a bit of a craving for me! I I I came across your blog months ago and have used many of your amazing recipes already however had somehow missed this one until reading your end of year top 10. Thank you so much for your lovely writing and even lovelier recipes!

  10. Caroline, thank you so very much for your lovely comments. I really hope that you enjoy this as much as we do! xxoo

  11. Looks delish! Thanks for the recipe, I featured it on my blog: http://www.colorfulcanary.com/2015/10/16-not-so-pruney-ways-to-preserve-plums.html

    1. Canary, I am so sorry I never responded to your comment. Here I am a year later, only having just discovered it! Thank YOU so much! xo

  12. I found this recipe today, my tree is overflowing with plums, made it with a few additions (chili, ginger, cumin) It turned out amazing! thanks for the recipe

    1. You're welcome Illiana! I am so happy it was enjoyed xo

  13. Hello, such a beautiful recipe, do you think you could use Greengage plums instead?
    We have a tree dripping in them! 😊

  14. Can i use Ruby port in this recipe as opposed to Port?

    1. Tawny port and ruby port do differ in color and flavor. Ruby port is ruby red and has a fruity, berry flavor. Tawny port is tawny brown and has a nutty, caramel flavor. Tawny port is also older and slightly sweeter than ruby port. Tawny port is aged in small oak barrels, while ruby port has very short ageing. Ruby port can be served as a dessert, while tawny port has notes of exotic herbs or spices. I think it is up to you. I believe both would work well depending on the result you are looking for.

  15. Hi. Thank you for the recipe. I’m intrigued to try. Sadly, the specific port was not mentioned in ingredients (I bought tawny). Also, there is no reference to disposition of cardamom pod shells after cooking. I can see leaving the seeds. Would you please clarify the shells? I wonder about the monthlong storage prior to use. Is this essential? Thank you

    1. I used a tawny myself as that was what I had in. Both will work, depending on the result you want.(See above comment.) I just leave the cardamom pods in the chutney. Nobody ever eats them, but its your choice as to leave them in or remove them. I do think they help to develop the flavors even more leaving them in. The storage time is to allow the real depth of flavors to develop. You can of course eat it right away, but it will not be near as nice as it is if you allow it to age. Hope this helps!

    2. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I’ve already deviated with black plums from Chile and as Ruby port is unavailable in my backwater, I thought I’d supplement with a little pomegranate liqueur. Might just as well get ALL the exotics going!


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