There’s been a definite chill in the air this week and I have to keep reminding myself that, yes, it is still officially August and still officially summer. For one more week at least…
I’m sure I can feel the days shortening imperceptibly each evening and my summer duvet is wrapped more tightly around me each night.
I’m trying not to moan because, after all, we did have a glorious July, but there is something a little depressing about an August that already feels as if autumn has hit.
But, on the plus side, the arrival of autumn a little early this year means the early arrival of harvest time, hurrah!
And what a bumper harvest it has been so far.
It seems to have been an especially good year for plums. My fellow Grow Forage Cooker, Laura (of Circle of Pine Trees) shared three glorious looking plum recipes last week from a basket filled to the brim at the local PYO.
This is a selection of seriously delicious looking plum treats: plum clafoutis, plum cake and plum jam. Head over now if you’ve not already seen the delights: a basket of plums.
This week, I’ve got plums in my hands too, hem hem, since our plum tree has had a rather magnificent bounty this year.
So if you, too, have more plums than you know what to do with, here’s another recipe, this one for a spicy plum chutney, that tastes particularly fabulous at Christmas time with cold meats or cheese.
(I know, I know, despite the chilly weather it’s still far too early to think about Christmas, but this chutney is best matured for a few months, so if you make it now you can forget about it all over again until December…)
And if you’re growing, foraging or cooking anything yourself with seasonal ingredients, do please share it with us. Use the hashtag #growforagecook on twitter or instagram and tag either of us (@circleofpines and @wolvesinlondon) or leave us a comment on our blogs to share any photos you’ve taken, recipes you’ve made or blog posts you’ve written.
We’d love to get some inspiration / drool over some delicious photos.
At the end of each month, we’ll share a round up on our blogs of some of our favourites and pin them to our Pinterest board: Grow, forage, cook.
And a huge thank you to everyone who has joined in so far!
And so, on with the plums…
Spicy plum chutney
This makes 5 – 6 jars. You can scale up or down all the ingredients depending on how many plums you have.
- 1kg of plums
- 1kg of apples, cored and chopped
- 400g granulated sugar (I like to use white sugar as the chutney stays a wonderful pink colour, but you can replace with brown if you prefer)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1tbsp chilli flakes (or more or less, as you prefer)
- fresh ginger, an amount about the size of two thumbs
- garlic: one bulb, peeled and roughly chopped
- 350ml of cider vinegar
- Large heavy bottom saucepan, stockpan or (ideally) jam pan
- 5-6 jam jars
- wooden spoon
What to do:
1. First of all, get your jars on to sterilise. You can either put them through a normal wash on the dishwasher, or wash them in soapy water and then put into an oven on a low heat. If you do the latter, put them onto a baking tray and then you can pull the whole thing out at once, rather than handling lots of hot glass jars.
You’re supposed to use new lids every time, or sterilise them in boiling water, but – confession – I just stick the lids through the dishwasher as well…
2. Chop the plums in half, remove the stones and weigh them. Incidentally, this will leave you with genuine brown, wrinkled prune fingers; washing them in a bit of lemon juice helps remove the stains…
3. Match the rest of your ingredients to the amount of plums you have, by scaling up or down the ratios. For every kg of plums you want approximately a matching weight in apples, 350ml of vinegar and 400g of sugar. Specific quantities aren’t crucial, so don’t worry too much about matching this exactly. The apples on my trees are only just starting to ripen, so I couldn’t quite match the weight of the plums, but just added what I could… It didn’t matter in the slightest.
4. Core and chop the apples – controversially, I don’t worry about peeling them, since I think the skin softens enough not to be noticeable and I am a rather lazy cook – but if you’d rather peel them, go right ahead.
5. Stick everything into a big saucepan and bring to the boil.
6. Simmer, stirring every now and again for around 90 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced and become a thick gloopy consistency.
7. Spoon into the jars while still hot and twist the lids onto the top. The lids should depress at the top and you know a seal has been made.
8. Put aside for at least a month if you can, before eating, to let the flavours infuse. This should store well for at least a year…
Delicious with meats or with cheese and biscuits.
So tell me, what have you been growing / foraging / cooking recently?
I love me a bit of preserving. Take a look at a few of my other recipes:
- apple and sage jelly
- apple and plum compote
- apple and lemon curd
- rhubarb cordial
- carrot and rhubarb jam
- morello cherry vodka