I’ve been introducing my daughter to a wide variety of plums (her brother is, like his father, a lost cause when it comes to these delightful fruits). She loves the sour ones, it seems. The basket of pink ones that I bought, which were soft and sweet, were mine to consume. Given that I don’t think my body would appreciate me polishing off a basket of plums before they went off, I had to find something to do with them. Chutney to the rescue!
Chutneys often have a savoury component, like onion or garlic in them. I opted to leave those out, relying on the mustard seeds and blend of spices to give a savoury edge and depth of flavour to the finished sauce. This one is tangy and vibrant. It would go so well atop a baked wheel of brie, or alongside some poultry or sausage. I enjoyed it with some nicely aged cheddar on crackers.
Spiced Plum Chutney
1lb assorted plums, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 star anise (you may want to wrap it in a square of cheesecloth, lest it break up and be hard to find again)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional, and dried sour cherries would be brilliant)
generous grind of fresh black pepper
pinch of salt
In a medium sized saucepan, melt together the honey and vinegar with the spices. Add the plums, dried fruit, salt and pepper and simmer until thickened (can take half an hour or more, depending on how juicy your fruit is). Stir often, especially towards the end, when it can burn.
Add more honey if it’s still too tart. Mine was, probably because of the number of yellow plums I used.
Cool and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Serve with sausage, poultry, pork or cheese and crackers.
Makes about 2 cups