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Hot spiced plum chutney recipe


Photo: Plums from our garden

Photo: Plums from our garden

I had a yearning for a new plum chutney. Something fruity, spicy and hot. A chutney that could accompany roast pork, lamb or duck and be good with cheese sandwiches. A chutney that would inspire me to find infinite ways to use it.

We have a plum tree in our garden. It has large dark skinned plums. This year the harvest is enormous and during the recent high winds plums rained down on the driveway. Damaged windfall plums are perfect for making jam or chutney. I made a batch of our plum and tamarind chutney and then came up with this recipe. The lemon brings out the flavour of the plums and helps it to set.

It’s got a good chilli kick that comes a few seconds after the fruit bursts on your tongue. Wonderful and surprising. You can play with the amount of freah chilli used. Add them incrementally, letting the chutney absorb their flavour (about five minutes). I added the chopped dried chillies towards the end, a little at a time so as to get exactly the chilli sparkle that I wanted.

The chutney may look a bit sloppy when it’s ready to pot into jars. If you are unsure whether it has set enough, let a teaspoon get completely cold in the fridge – it thickens as it cools (about half an hour). If it is the right consistency for you, heat it the rest up very slowly and gently before pouring into warm sterilised jars with plastic lined lids.

If it’s too sloppy for your taste just bring it back to simmering point and continue string and testing every half an hour. Chutney is very forgiving – you can play with it a bit without ruining it. We always put a few jars away for vintage chutney – two year old chutney is to die for. Leave this chutney for at least a month to let the flvours to develop and mature.


Mouse count 4! We haven’t opened a book on the mice yet. Danny reckons the final count will be 13. I reckon it will be nearer to 50 – we are talking a whole cottage here. One Christmas we caught 13 in just one wardrobe! We’ll be reporting every day at the end of each post until we are (sort of) mouse clean.


Hot spiced plum chutney recipe
Recipe Type: Chutney
Author: Fiona Nevile
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 3 hours
Total time: 3 hours 30 mins
  • 1.45 kilos approx of sweet plums
  • 500 ml of white wine vinegar (don’t use malt or white vinegar)
  • 4 chunky cloves of garlic sliced fine
  • 175g of dried apricots chopped
  • 600g of white granulated sugar
  • I lemon cut lengthwise into 8 slices and sliced very fine (ours weighed 100g)
  • 1 large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 7 red birds eye chillis sliced fine, include the seeds
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of allspice powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp of dried chillies, chooped fine with seeds
  1. The night before you want to make the chutney, put the plums in a large heavy bottomed saucepan/preserving pan and add the vinegar. Bring to the boil, cover and leave to cool until the next day.
  2. Remove the stones from the softened plums. Return the plums and vinegar to the saucepan. Add all the ingredients apart from the sugar and the dried chillies.
  3. Bring slowly to simmering point and add the sugar. Stir constantly until you are certain that the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Bring the chutney back to a good simmer and, after an hour or so, add the dried chillis to taste.
  5. Stir every few minutes to stop the bottom burning (this is a labour of love after all).
  6. Eventually depending on the strength of your simmer, the chutney will start to thicken (more like very thick soup than chutney) – mine took 3 hours, stirring every 10-15 minutes or so. Test for thickness by putting a spoonful in the fridge for half an hour and take the saucepan off the stove during the test.
  7. When you have a consistency that you like, very gently reheat the chutney and when it reaches simmering point pour into warm sterilised jars and seal with plastic lined metal lids. Leave for a month to mellow.
  8. N.B. Don’t use cellophane jam pot covers as the vinegar will evaporate and you will be left with relics from a Pharaoh’s tomb after a few months.

  Leave a reply


  1. Victoria

    I have yellow plums – they are slightly tarter than normal red / purple plums.
    Do you think this will work with them?

  2. Clive Bailey

    Lovely recipe but I changed things a bit. I am in Spain so although plums are available, I have a heavily laden Nispero tree. Nisperos are plum size but have a tough skin and not one stone but several. The fruit is yellow and generally sharper than plum. Anyway I made 2.5kg which when stoned and peeled was 1.5kg. I followed the recipe but used fresh ginger grated and added some ground star anis. The result was far too sweet and my birds eye chillies must be extra hot. I put the chutney in the fridge and waited 3 days for some more nisperos to ripen a bit. I then made another 2.5kg but with no sugar and no chillies. In the final stage of cooking I added the first batch and bingo; perfect .
    It’s a winner and thank you.

  3. Can’t get juniper berries is it ok to leave them out or can I use something else.

  4. Hi,
    I love this recipe… but am a bit confused about the lemmon. do you use the whole lemmon? pith n all (not the pips obviously)


  5. Just made a batch of this, it’s wonderful, thank you Fiona.

  6. Joinhampshire

    I made a batch of this with plums from the garden and it is SOOOO good – had to go out and buy more plums from the market to make some more!

  7. Will be making this tomnorrow.. cant wait… made a yummy asian style red plum sauce today that Im very happy with .. My little corner of Australia is having an awsome plum & blackberry season at the moment.

  8. Anne-Louise

    I have a glut of plums and have made heaps of plumjam. I want to make chutney, but without garlic. Is it possible just to omit the garlic?


  9. Have just purchased a cherry/olive stoner from Lakeland. Whoopee, it works. Hopefully stoning the 3lb of mirabel plums I have picked will not put my right hand out of action as well as my left 😉

  10. In France you can buy plum stoners; brilliant as they take out the stones before cooking:for small wild cherry plums I use an olive stoner
    Both of these methods I find far easier than picking out the stones after cooking!

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