We are lucky enough to have a PLUM TREE in our garden. As it was here when we bought the house, I’m not totally sure what type it is, but I think it’s a Victoria. Whichever it is, for the past couple of years it has produce huge crops of delicious plums – until then I didn’t know I even liked plums! They are very tasty eaten fresh, as they are, or chopped up and made into a mixed fruit salad with yoghurt for BREAKFAST. But after a couple of dozen eaten like that, there comes a time when I fancy something a bit different. There are only so many plums you can eat! And there also comes a time in the year when plums are exactly what you want – usually when they are not in season. This is when a method of preserving the plums comes in handy.
I tend to halve, remove the stone and open FREEZE a few trays of plums, so that I can enjoy them throughout the year (thankfully we have a very big freezer!) but I thought it might be useful to share some of the other creations I have come up with to make the most of the all-too-fast plum season. Here is the first, with more to follow…
Spiced Plum Chutney
Perfect as an alternative to mango chutney with a tasty curry, or lovely as an accompaniment to cold meats.
800g plums (including stones), halved and stones removed
1 large onion
1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 inches ginger
dried chilli flakes (to taste)
300 ml white wine vinegar
200g caster sugar
- Heat a little oil in a large pan, and gently sweat the onions until softened and translucent.
- In a pestle and mortar, grind the coriander and cumin seeds, then add the ginger and mash to a paste.
- Add the mustard seeds to the onions and allow to pop, before adding the paste and the chilli flakes. Cook to release the aromatics, then add the vinegar and sugar, heating to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the plums and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chutney begins to thicken (around 45 minutes).
- Now stir constantly to ensure the chutney doesn’t stick and burn on the bottom of your pan. When the chutney holds its shape and doesn’t immediately flood to fill the gap left by your wooden spoon, remove from the heat and while still hot, spoon into sterilised jars.
- The chutney should keep for a good few months as long as the jars were properly sterilised and the seal in intact after you filled them. It tastes even better if you can leave it for a few weeks for the flavours to mature, but you can eat it right away if you ca’tn’t wait that long.
I can’t wait to rustle up a CURRY to have alongside a good dollop of this, with some lovely crispy poppadoms! Thankfully this makes enough for two jars, so I know I’ll be able to keep one aside to get the full benefit.
I also want to have a go at making a plum version of Cat Dresser’s Passionfruit and coconut cream slices – I think they’d be scrumptious with plums and a GINGER SYRUP DRIZZLE. And a savoury idea I have floating around my head (highly likely to be featuring on our dinner table very soon) is a sausagemeat, plum and sage wellington – imagine all that plummy goodness, combined with meaty flavours, all wrapped up inside a puff pastry parcel!
What do you do when you have monster crops of fruit or vegetables? Please feel free to link up and add your ideas.