Plum Chutney

Homemade Plum ChutneyNoisy, chaotic, scruffy and yet irresistible. I love street markets. Rows of stalls selling everything from herrings to hummus. I can’t help but come away with a bulging shopping bag and a head full of recipes. Thursday is market day on the ‘Wilhelminaplantsoen’ in the centre of Bussum. I’ve just returned with 2kg of ripe Opal plumbs bought for the bargain price of €1.50. Plums are now at the very end of their season and prices are low. So there’s no better time to make my favourite homemade Chutney.Fresh Opal plumsChutney is one of those fabulous recipes that we Brits brought back from India in the days of the Empire. This once exotic condiment has become as much a part of British food culture as fish and chips. It’s delicious with cheese, cold meats and of course a good curry. What’s more, it’s so easy to make. Almost any combination of fruits, vegetables and spices can be used. Everything from rose hips to rhubarb. You need nothing more than a large wide pan, time and some imagination. Traditional Indian spices such as ginger, cumin and turmeric work really well, giving an authentic kick. So what are you waiting for? Have a go yourself.
Making chutneyI’ve used plums, apples and dried fruit but the recipe can be adapted by keeping the quantities the same and substituting your own choice of fruit. The results should be just as good.

Plum Chutney:
Makes approximately 5 – 8 jars.

1kg ripe plums
500g cooking apples
4 medium onions
100g dried cranberries
100g raisins
5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
600ml red wine vinegar
500g light muscovado sugar

1. Halve the plums and remove the stones. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Finely chop the onions then peel and finely grate the ginger. Try using a teaspoon to peel the ginger, it’s easier and there’s less waste.

2. Add all the ingredients into a large wide pan (a wide pan helps with the evaporation) and mix well. Stir the mixture over a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved.

3. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for around one hour, stirring occasionally. As it thickens, stir more frequently to prevent the sugar sticking to the bottom. The chutney is done when you can scrape a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and the chutney does not flow back into the gap.

4. Carefully spoon the chutney into sterilised jars (see tip, below), and seal while hot. Store for at least 2 weeks before eating, to let the flavours mellow. Will keep for up to six months in a cool dark place.

To clean the jam jars: Preheat your oven to 140C/275F. Wash the jars well in warm soapy water then rinse thoroughly under running water. (Or you can clean the jars by putting them through the hot cycle of a dishwasher.) Leave the jars and lids to dry, upside down, in the oven. Use the jars straight from the oven, its better when both the chutney and the jars are hot.



  1. This looks really delicious Ian – I can imagine it wouldn’t need much more than a good slice of bread and a hearty cheddar to accompany it! Love the combination of flavours you’ve used.

  2. This really does sound lovely, and your photographs are fabulous. It would be great to hear more about that street market as well.

  3. I love the photo. It says everything about the chutney. The chutney looks delicious, I have never eaten chutney with cheese but tomorrow I shall grab that bottle of mango chutney and some nice old cheddar cheese and experiment. I bet it tastes delicious. Thanks for teaching me. Have a lovely week!

    • Hi Liz. The French eat cheese with a type of jam often made from tomatoes, pears or roses. I got into the habit of combining cheese with sweet flavours when I lived there. Thanks for reading the post.

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