It’s plum season! Although I’ve never been a huge fan of fresh plums as fruits, I do love my mother’s plum jam. I think it’s because she adds cinnamon, which creates such a wonderful autumn flavour with the rich, sweet and sour flavour of the plums. So basically, these little fruits represent the transition from summer to autumn for me, my favourite season. Could be pumpkin flavour for you, for me it’s plum.
Plum or prune – make a chutney!
There are over 2000 varieties of plums out there, small yellow ones, prunes…what a collection! While plums and prunes do look quite alike, one sort (prunes) is better for baking cake and the other is perfect for jam or chutneys. Plums are juicier than prunes, which are known to have a firmer pulp. This is why they keep their shape after baking, plus they are easier to core. Good to know, because for our chutney we want some juice!
But what’s a chutney exactly? The word ‘chutney’ is actually the anglicised transcription of the Hindi word चटनी or caṭnī, meaning ‘sauce’. Chutneys are spicy, sometimes sweet-sour and often hot sauces to accompany Indian meals. Furthermore, they can have different consistencies and can be runny, creamy or pasty. The Britons brought the tradition of chutney to Europe, where the vegetable and fruit chutneys became quite popular, plus it was usual then to preserve the chutney in jars to make it last longer. And that’s where we are today! So let’s go:
- 1 kg of plums
- 3 shallots
- 1 piece of fresh ginger (about the size of your thumb)
- 5 tbsp. of water
- 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp. of port
- 5 tbsp. of brown sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 3 tsp. of Garam Masala
- ½ tsp. of cayenne pepper
Here goes: Wash the plums, core them and quarter them. Next peel the ginger and finely chop it, do the same with the shallots.
In a large pot, heat up the liquid ingredients: Add water, balsamic vinegar and port. Then add the plums, the sugar and the spices (be careful with the cayenne pepper though).
Stir and let everything simmer until you have a jam-like consistency, which is about 45 minutes. Add spices and/or acid according to taste.
While letting your plum chutney simmer, prepare your vessels with hot water to kill any germs. Fill the chutney into your jars and let it cool. Keep it in your fridge and enjoy!
Yum, that is some spicy and fruity chutney! I think the Garam Masala and the cayenne pepper add a nice little oriental flavour and sharpness to the fruits. It’s really interesting! I think I will enjoy this plum chutney with some nice cheese, or even a piece of red meat. It might even be a good companion to my focaccia. Any other idea to eat chutney? Here’s to a good way to start autumn!