Ordering 10 pounds of plums seemed like a really good idea at the time. When I lifted up that bag and felt the heft of what 10 pounds of plums really is my shoulders slumped with the weight and dread of the work I’d laid out for myself. I look around my and I see boxes, clutter, piles of unsorted papers, dust bunnies in the corners, unhung pictures, and yet I keep giving myself more projects. Hence, Project Plums. Next week is Project Tomatoes (25 lbs local organic San Marzanos have been ordered).
I had thought I’d make a simple plum jam but I have loads of jam already downstairs and many people in my family don’t eat much bread anymore. I have more than enough for the odd slice of toast that I will make. I found a recipe in one of my canning books for plum chutney and before I knew it, I had switched things in the recipe and made three batches of chutney.
The result is a chutney that is absolutely delicious on pork chops, cheddar cheese, and my new favourite is Stilton with a slice of apple. I’m looking forward to having it along side a roast pork and some sausages for a quick weeknight meal that doesn’t lack in flavour.
If you really aren’t comfortable with canning I encourage you to still make this. You can freeze it in jars but just make sure it cools down before putting it in the freezer and leave lots of room for it to expand in the jar. I roasted 10 lbs of tomatoes and put them in jar and then in the freezer. I filled them too much so the goddamn jars broke in the freezer. I was supremely pissed off about that, so please learn from my mistake. Don’t be afraid to can this though. I recommend 250 ml (half pint) jars because it is a condiment. Unless you know you will use it in large quantities, then a pint jar would be too big. I did can one batch in pint jars because I love it so much that I know I will use it up within a week or two after opening.
Although I really love this chutney, I was pretty damn sick of chopping all the fruit and onion at the end of a long day. By the last batch, I had resorted to using my food processor to chop everything. It works beautifully but remember to have a gentle hand when chopping the fruit or you will end up with mush. You are going for a chop, not a puree. The other method that I employed when I was too exhausted but needed to make the chutney so the fruit wouldn’t go to waste, was ask my husband to do the chopping of the fruit. If you don’t have a food processor and don’t feel like chopping everything yourself, then I encourage you to find an able bodied helper to do it for you. Smile pretty and say please. It helps.
- 4 cups chopped plums*
- 2 cups chopped peaches (You could use all plums)
- 1½ cups diced apples
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- ½ cup diced prunes
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1⅔ cups cider vinegar
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp chili pepper flakes
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp pepper
- Fill a large canning pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. Wash six 250 ml jars (half pint) and new lids and rings. When the water starts to boil put the jars in the canning pot on top of a rack. Boil for 10 minutes and then turn the heat down to keep the jars warm until ready for filling with the chutney.
- Pit and chop the plums and peaches and add them to a large, wide, heavy bottomed pot. Chop the apples, onions, garlic and prunes and add them to the pot as well.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Continue boiling the chutney over a medium high heat for 45 minutes to an hour or until the chutney thickens. Stir frequently as it will start to spatter when it thickens. When it is ready it will mound on the spoon slightly. Look for it to be like a thick salsa.
- minutes before the chutney is ready, put the lids in a small pot and heat gently to soften the seals.
- When the chutney is ready, remove it from the heat.
- Take the jars out of the hot water and place them on a heat proof surface, such as a large cutting board. Fill the jars with the chutney, leaving ½ inch head space.
- Wipe the rims of the jars and place the hot lids on and rings. Tighten the rings and place the jars in the boiling water of the canning pot and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Ensure that the water is boiling the entire time.
- When the time is up, remove the jars from the water and place on a rack or board. Leave the jars for 24 hours and if they seal then they can be stored in a cool dry place. If they do not seal then refrigerate them and use within a couple of weeks.
September 9, 2013