- Plum Chutney:
- 8 cups of plums, chopped or smashed & pitted
- 2 medium red onions, minced
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
- 1/2 cup raisins or currants
- 1 TBLs mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- Plum Jam:
- 10 cups plums, pitted
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Whole Plums:
- 30+ plums
- 5 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
This week I scored big time! A neighbor was giving away their red plums and I got a huge box full. I guess it was around 40 pounds. When we got home with the box around 9pm, the box was leaking juice. The very nice neighbor said she had picked fruit for 2 hours. I appreciate her generosity so much.
We quickly sorted through the whole box and put the ripest ones in a pot and the firm ones in the basement. I made jam first, which took a lot of work removing the pits. Then I canned whole plums, leaving the pits in. Last I made a chutney. All through the week we also ate fresh plums everyday, all day long. It was a fun week!
For the jam, I put about 40 very ripe plums into my largest cast iron pot on low with one cup of water (just so that the plums didn’t burn on the bottom in the beginning of cooking) and let it cook down for several hours, uncovered. Stirring every once in a while. When it was all liquid I used a sieve to get the pits out. It was a labor of love and took a bit of time. But these plums were not a stone free variety, so cutting them in half to pit them wouldn’t work. Once I was sure all of the pits were out, I returned the pulp and skins to the juice and cooked it with sugar. By this time I probably had about 10 cups of liquid, so I added 4 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. I got it going at a full boil and stirred almost constantly for 15 minutes while it thickened up. I put this into 7 pint jars and processed in my hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. One pint didn’t seal shut, so it’s in the fridge and we are already enjoying it. It is very tasty!
Next I called my Grandma. She suggested I can some whole, that it would be easier than making anything else and that I would enjoy them in the winter. She also told me that I didn’t have to remove the pits, so I canned 5 quarts of whole plums in a light syrup, processing them in the canner for 30 minutes. Cold or raw pack is a great way to can fresh fruit. Just cut and put into hot jars, add hot syrup or water and seal. Try to cram as many as you can in there and as little syrup as possible, to make sure you get the most nutritious fruit and a large serving out of each jar. I put some plums in whole, and some in chunks, but all had pits.
These projects were happening one day at a time. We sorted the plums into large bowls or single layers in flat boxes and stored them in the cool of the basement, while taking bags of them to work in our lunch boxes all week long. By Friday I still had about 40 plums left and they were very ripe.
These medium sized red plums were very juicy, sweet on the outside and sour in the middle. I really wanted to try for a chutney, so I started recipe hunting. I found several on the internet and combined a few of them to make up my own. On Saturday night I got it started. I squeezed and squished the plums in my hands to get the pits out this time. They easily popped out of the raw plums and it went much faster than cooking them down first and using the colander or sieve. I did this over my large pot on the counter, so all of the juice and pulp just fell between my fingers into the basin. It was very fun! Once this was done I chopped up 2 red onions. Wow they are strong! My eyes were watering so badly I could hardly see to continue. Anyway, I added all of the other chutney ingredients, gave it a stir, and then placed it on the stove top and cooked it on medium high, stirring often, until it was rapidly boiling (about 20 minutes). Then I turned it off, put the lid on and went to bed, around midnight.
Next morning I turned it back on to low, removed the lid, and let it simmer all morning and reduce, stirring every 30 minutes or so. Finally this afternoon I had time to actually put it into jars. It was reduced by about an inch in the pot and smelled wonderful. I filled my half pint jars, 10 of them in total, and processed in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. There were still enough leftover to fill a pint jar for the fridge. They are supposed to sit for 6 weeks before opening, to get the right taste. I tasted some anyway and it was good. Tasted mostly of plum, onion, and vinegar…but I hope after the wait time it will have a much richer full bodied flavor including all of the ingredients. I look forward to serving it alongside poultry, pork, and beef as well as spreading it over bread or crackers and cheese.
Since I had the hot water bath going already and we had picked blackberries yesterday and today and I had two pints of leftover light syrup in the fridge, I decided to also can blackberries! I got 5 pints out of it. :) I have had a very satisfying week.