Last week, I had an overwhelming urge to make chutney, until I started and remembered that you can’t leave it unattended, not even for a moment and if you do, it ends up going totally mad and burning the bottom of the jam pan.
Unable to scour the black from the bottom of the pan, you find yourself contemplating advice once noted in the Good Housekeeping magazine that to remove a stubborn burnt on mark from the bottom of a pan, you just whip in some biological washing powder, boil it on a high heat and then ta-da, off it comes. Except it didn’t and I went to bed in a foul mood because nothing could remove the black mark!
Mum then came home and removed it with the pot scourer. I had already tried this method but I believe she was successful in her endeavours because she’s a mum and they can do those kind of things. However, it did allow me to try a Good Housekeeping tip and I have longed for such an opportunity. Every now and again one will wander into your life and you’ll think ‘my word, those whites have lost their sheen, I shall pop a couple of spoons of bicarbonate of soda mulched in water on them for a bit and they’ll be right as rain in a jiffy’. Because this is how ladies from the Good Housekeeping Institute speak, I’m sure of it.
Now the WI obviously have an institute, they have to, it’s in their name. But imagine how amazing the Good Housekeeping Institute must be…
‘Petunia, how is your sausage and tuna bake coming along…?’
‘Oh, Iris, I’m just sieving my jus…, could you stir my borlotti beans?’
‘I shall in a sec but first I’m going over old bills to see where I can make a saving whilst using old stockings to create ingenious draining devices for my hanging baskets. Beryl may have finished repelling ants using a solution of half white vinegar and half water.’
It must be a heaven. I could read those kind of tips for hours, and regularly do, and then every now and again, you find one you can use and hoorah, a little cheer goes up inside because you have been ingenious and incredibly domestic and they might invite you to join the institute when they get wind of it!
So before I got completely distracted dreaming of membership to the GHI (oh, that’s what we in the know call it!), I was about to fill you in on making plum chutney, which is really why you’re here.
You’ll need the paraphenalia of jam making really. A large wide bottomed saucepan or a real jam pan, a funnel, jam jars. You’ll need to sterilise the jam jars as mentioned here: https://thegirlwiththewoodenspoon.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/strawberry-fields-forever/ but that doesn’t take long and this chutney does bubble away for hours. I would really recommend pulling up a chair next to the hob and a book and continuing to stir for the entire time that this takes. If you walk away, the high sugar content from the fruit and the actual sugar will burn. Then you will need biological washing powder or a subscription to the Good Housekeeping magazine.. (ooh, I’d like one of those!)
It’s quite a long list of ingredients but it’s worth it. I used Opal plums because they’re in season now. I love Victorias the most but they don’t appear for a little while longer yet. I also added dried cranberries, alongside the sultanas, as we seemed to have a lot of them in the cupboard.
Spiced Plum Chutney
makes about 6 jars..
- 1.5kg of ripe plums
- 2 pounds of bramley apples, peeled and chopped
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped – I use my garlic crusher here, I implore you to buy one
- 450g cooking onions, peeled and chopped
- 200g sultana raisins and dried cranberries
- 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
- Remove the stones from the plums, I found it easier to pull them apart and rip the stone from the middle, using a knife took forever! I then threw the halves into the pan.
- Add the garlic cloves, onions, apples, sultanas, star anise, cardamom pods, sugar and 300ml of the white wine vinegar. The vinegar may seem like a really small amount compared to the dry goods but it’ll soon break down all of the liquids in the fruit and you’ll end up with loads of liquid.
- Season with some salt and black pepper.
- Place the pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. It’ll end up much wetter than it looked like it would.
- Then simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the fruit is tender.
- Add the remaining white wine vinegar and the port.
- Simmer for a further 30 minutes, stirring often, or until thickened. If it still seems a bit runny, carry on cooking for another 10-15 minutes.
- Place into hot sterilized jars, dividing it equally amongst them and seal while still hot.