The Handyman spent a precarious hour plucking fruit from our knarled old plum tree. When we first came to Holly Grove we almost cut it down as we thought by the state of the trunk that it was diseased or dead or both. Thanksfully we were distracted by everything else that needed attention and left the plum tree alone.
Low and behold our first August here the tree provided a bumper crop of delicious and juicy Victoria plums (at least we think they are Victorias?). This year the wee tree has worked its magic again and I've had a tub of plums to preserve.
I've made about 7lbs of jam, 3lbs of hot plum chutney and 3lbs of stewed plums for the freezer; plus we've eaten rather a lot of fresh plums over the past week, oh, and a plum custard tart - yummy!
So here follows the recipe for Hot Plum Chutney:
2lbs HG plums, halved and stoned
1 HG onion, finely chopped
3 inch piece fesh root ginger, peeled and grated
3 whole star anise
12 fl ozs white wine vinegar
8ozs soft light brown sugar
5 celery stick, thinly sliced
3 green chillies, seeded and finely sliced
2 HG garlic cloves, crushed
Put the plums, onion, ginger and star anise in a preserving pan ans pour over half the white wine vinegar. Bring to the boil then simmer gently over a low heat forabout 30 minutes, or until the plums have softened.
Stir the remaining white wine vinegar, sugar, sliced celery, chillies and crushed garlic into the plum mixture. Cook very gently over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Bring the mixture to the boil then simmer for about 45 minutes, or until thick with no excess liquid. Stir frequently as the mixture thickens to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Spoon the chutney into warmed and sterlised jars. Cover with greasproof circles and seal immediately. Store the chutney in a cool, dark place and allow to mature for at least one month - use within 2 years.
Delicious with cold cuts and cheeses on Boxing Day - if you can resist temptation for that long!