This is the first of three recipes I made a couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to preserve this season’s harvest of plums and courgettes. I will own up to having had a couple of beers beforehand so this is very much a studenty ‘what happens if..’ products.
Chutneys are pretty much savoury vegetables mixed with sweet and / or sour fruits with sweet sugar and sour vinegar. The sugar and the vinegar are the preserving agents, which means as always you need more than 5% acid by volume for it to work.
Makes about 400g chutney.
half a red onion
250g plums, destoned
2 tsp mustard seeds
Coarsely chop the onion and courgette, aiming for thin slices about two inches long. Hopefully your plums are not overripe so will take being cut without squidging everywhere. Halve them and remove the stones. I wanted a rich purple colour in the finish, so left the skins on.
Gently sweat the onion and courgette in a preserving pan on a low heat until they start to go translucent. Add the plums and continue to heat slowly. After a few minutes the water will start to come out of the fruit and you can bring the mixture up to the boil.
Simmer away for 15-20 minutes to concentrate the juice then add the spice seeds, sugar and vinegar.
Continue simmering over a low heat for two to three hours to reduce it down to a thick chutney. Check the seasoning at this point and adjust to taste. Bottle in a sterile jar when it’s still hot.
Leave for 6-8 weeks to mature if you’ve got the patience.
The results weren’t as refined as some of the other chutneys I’ve made, but it was very piquant and went well with a strong or blue cheese. Definately one of the easier to make conconctions I’ve done, provided you don’t mind the house smelling of vinegar all weekend.