1 February 2011

Hot and sweet plum chutney

I like chutney recipes which cook everything together in one pot. No need to soften the onions in this one - everything goes in, simmers for an hour and then comes out. The recipe is from Nigel Slaters's Tender II. It's an extremely handsome book but I'm finding it better to look at than cook from at the moment. Could just be me, mind.


    • 750g plums
    • 250g brown sugar
    • 125g raisins
    • 350g chopped onions
    • 150ml each cider and malt vinegar
    • two teaspoon yellow mustard seeds, one salt and half dried chilli
    • cinnamon stick

Two things I reckon seem to happen with chutneys, though I'm still learning the ropes. Firstly they become less liquid after a while which is good as this one really needs it. And secondly the flavour gets better - rounder, with the harshness of the vinegar receding and the gentler tones of fruit, sugar and spice coming to the front. At least that’s what I’m hoping happens here. At the moment it’s tangfastic beyond belief: mouth-puckeringly sharp, sweet and vinegary at the same time. I'm hoping that a lie down in a dark place for a month or so will tame it a bit.

PS. If anyone knows about the scientific reasons behind chutneys maturing and changing in taste please do tell.


  1. Think Harold will have a good word on that p.s.

    n.b. has website:

  2. Thanks for that tip Rose - I'll surely check out Harold's site. :)

  3. looks good! you don't want to be eating your chutney for at least 3 months, don't know the scientfic reason, but it's a good rule of thumb.

  4. Looks delicious. Lucky thing: wish we could get plums right now. Isn't it funny how it always tastes so much better later? I've still got a couple of jars from 2 yrs ago and it's like gold. Love your addition of chilli!

  5. Thanks for the comments.

    I guess I need to keep up a steady stream of preserving so there is always something ready to eat that has matured! I should pack them away in a cupboard and make some different ones so got a good selection. It's really satisfying making chutney at home, I haven't got on to anything sweet yet but will have to soon.

  6. Well if I remember correctly from my grandma the long the better to let your chutney season within itself. And oh boy is it worth the wait, thanks for your recipe to try, look really forward to giving it a go.

  7. Yep I think that's right Coupons. I will stash these away and give them some time.

  8. I'm so glad you posted this, I've always fancied making my own chutney instead of buying them, and this looks like a good one to start on! Look forward to reading about the other ones you make for your "steady stream"! :)

  9. yes, you may want it a bit more jammy and less acidic watery? in my experience, that comes from cooking it longer - until more of the water's evaporated. at this point, the sugar melds it all.
    There's a great recipe for Old Fashioned Chutney in The Household Encyclopaedia (1931) which you can have if you like.

  10. Cheers for that guys.

    Catherine, it's so easy! I'd say give it a bash - you can't go wrong. A tangy, spicy tomato chutney is always worth a go.

  11. Olly - belatedly - as a bit of an amateur preserver - chutney is best left for at least 6 months if not 12 to mature in the jar - i made some plum chutney 2 years ago that was still fairly branston like within 6 months but then a mate found a jar randomly about 18 months after i had made it and it was delightful.
    If you are looking for an expert cookbook on preserving - one of my favourite activities in the kitchen and i just made a huge load of seville marmalade in early feb, and am busy working on preserved lemons and limes (the latter from an ottolenghi recipe - you cannot go wrong with the River Cottage Preserving handbook. only fronted by HFW and mainly written by Pam the Jam its a godsend - basics all covered and some excellent ideas as well as rules which mean you can't go wrong.
    i made the plum and pear chutney from here as a Xmas gift in 2009 and it was excellent within 3 years. Let me know if you want the recipe - by the way will be following your guidelines on pheasant stew tmw night! Fi

  12. Thanks Fiona, sorry for belated response! Will look into the book as it is something I would like to do a bit more of and feel more confident in doing. I guess you need a stream of preserves so you can afford to stash stuff away and not eat it all...good luck with the pheasant.