Plum Chutney and Plum Sauce

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This spicy, vibrant plum chutney and plum sauce perfectly compliments meats, cheese, or your favourite fritters or vegan patties. It can also be prettied up and gifted to someone special.


This recipe is one of the originals from my old blog over on blogger. Should you stumble across that dinosaur (called ‘Sanaworld’, then ‘Fit to Blog’), I can’t really vouch for all the recipes on it, but here’s one that doesn’t suck.

This spicy plum chutney recipe is from my grandma. One year, instead of swiping plum sauce from her pantry, I decided to evolve by making my own. It was easier than expected (just five ingredients!) and I felt so… wholesome.

Plum Chutney and Plum Sauce Step-by-step

Step 1: Wash your plums, then slice and remove pits

plum chutney and plum sauce F.A.Q’s

Does vinegar type matter: It’s really personal preference. I have made chutney using apple cider and malt vinegar. I’d describe the malt version as having a warmer flavour, where the cider vinegar creates a brighter, lighter chutney or sauce.

What type of plums are best? Any plums will work with this recipe. The plums in my backyard are Japanese satsuma plums. Unless supremely ripe, these tend towards bitterness, which works well for chutney and sauce.

Can I reduce the sugar? Well, it’s your life, you can do whatever you like. However, the sugar in sauces, jams and chutneys acts as a preservative, so you’ll have to keep a closer eye on shelf-life. Given the amount of chutney one usually eats, unless you have diabetes, the sugar content isn’t anything to worry about.

My chutney is too thick, help! It happens, and it can take experience to figure out the right time to bottle your chutney or (especially!) sauce. It does thicken up a lot upon cooling and this can also vary depending how ripe your plums are. Thick chutney isn’t necessarily a disaster, it usually softens up when you put it on hot food. However, if it’s a bit unusable, give it a good stir and add a couple of tablespoons of hot water.

To avoid disappointment, it’s a good idea to start doing firmness tests at about two hours. Just spoon some into the bottom of a cup, stick that in the fridge and see how it behaves once cool.

How do I sterilise the jars? Sterilising the jars is to ensure there are no pathogens in there that could ruin your hard work. You can boil the jars and lids in water for 10 minutes, or run them through a hot wash in your dishwasher.

recipe card (note: this prints without pictures)

Plum Chutney and Plum Sauce

Spicy, sweet, fragrant plum chutney and plum sauce for all your condiment needs!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: international
Keyword: condiments, plum chutney, plum sauce
Servings: 4 jars
Author: Sara Lake

Equipment

  • Large saucepan
  • Four sterilised jars with lids See notes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg Plum pieces
  • 900 grams White sugar
  • 400 grams Onions
  • 40 grams Pickling Spices See notes for details of what I used
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 600 ml Malt or apple cider vinegar Approximately

Instructions

  • Remove the stones from your plums before weighing them.
  • Peel the onions and cut into chunks.
  • Put the plums in your jam pan (large, wide saucepan) stir through the sugar, add the onion, spices and salt and just cover the ingredients with vinegar.
    Plum Chutney ingredients in large jam saucepan
  • Add the pickling spices. You may like to put whole spices in a muslin bag that can be removed later if they will be hard to remove (e.g. whole cloves). Add powdered spices to the plum/sugar/vinegar mix.
  • Cover the chutney and let it bubble for two hours. Adjust the heat so that it's active but not in danger of boiling over or sticking to the bottom. Give it a stir now and then.
  • After two hours you may want to remove some to make plum sauce, taking more liquid than solids (see notes).
  • Uncover the chutney and let it simmer until it thickens to a chutney-ish consistency (about another hour). It will firm up upon cooling so don't worry if it's not quite as firm as you want the final product to be.
  • When the chutney starts to thicken, turn the heat right down and spoon some into the bottom of a cup and put in the fridge – this is your test to see how thick it will be when cool.
  • Sterilise your jars. To do this place clean jars lying down in a large pot filled with water and bring to the boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the water using tongs and drain any water out, then place on a chopping board or your bench top (if it's heat safe). The jars will dry through evaporation.
  • Using tongs, dip the lids in the boiling water.
  • Check your chutney sample. If it's looking about right, remove any chunky spices that you don't want in your final product. If it's still too liquid, cook 10 minutes longer and do another test.
  • When your chutney is ready, spoon it carefully into the warm jars and lid them.
    Plum Chutney being spooned into jars
  • Allow to cool on the bench top. This chutney will keep in the cupboard for months, perhaps years. Once opened, keep it in your fridge.

Notes

The spice mix:
3 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp cloves
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
If you are making sauce
Allow the plums/liquid you have removed to cool then blitz it with a stick blender or food processor until you reach your preferred ‘sauce’ consistency. Pour into a sterilised bottle and lid tightly.
Alternative method for sterilising jars: 
You can run your jars through a hot wash in the dish washer and this also gets the job done. 
Notes on firmness:
It is better to err on the side of being too liquid. Experience will teach you how much the chutney and sauce firms up as it cools. Suffice to say, I once cooked mine too long and it became rubber in the jar!  While ok for cheese and crackers, it didn’t function too well as chutney. If the sauce becomes too thick to pour, you can revive it by adding a little hot water and shaking very well. 

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storage of chutney and sauce

This chutney has excellent longevity whether in the cupboard or fridge. I’ve never had a jar go off or mouldy, even after three years. What I would recommend is paying attention when stashing bottles in the fridge though. Speaking from experience, it’s heartbreaking when you open the fridge and your hard-work ends up smashed on the floor. It’s a bit of a mission to get plum sauce out from between the floorboards too. 😒

As ever, please let me know if you make this recipe, any additions or amendments you think are worth sharing, and I wish you all the best through the intensity of plum season.

Sara

xx

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