The Cottage Smallholder

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Plum and Tamarind Chutney Recipe

This can also be made with damsons – cut the tamarind amount by half and add more sugar to taste.

Photo: Plum tree

Photo: Plum tree

Anyone who owns Oded Schwartz’s superb book Preserving  is very lucky indeed. Published in 1996 it is now sadly out of print. Danny found a copy on Australian Ebay for me one Christmas and I’ve used it endlessly since then. It is packed full of mouth watering photographs and inspirational recipes. Last week I spotted that he adds tamarind to a plum chutney, as this is one of my favourite ingredients at the moment my mind began to whir. How about developing a chutney that just contains fruit rather than a combination of onions and fruit.

So when Danny returned home with a 500g box of organic grapes that he had bought for fifty pence and I spotted that we had ripe plums in the garden I decided to have a go. The overall flavour is rich and tangy. Perfect with curry or cold meat or stirred into a game casserole.

As with all my chutneys, the secret is in the long cooking time which allows the flavours to mellow and develop and reduces the need for maturing in the jar. This chutney can be eaten immediately but will improve with keeping.


Plum and Tamarind Chutney Recipe
Recipe Type: Chutney
Author: Fiona Nevile
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 5 hours
Total time: 5 hours 30 mins
  • 3lbs/1350g wild plums/damsons/eating plums
  • 1lb/450g of seedless grapes
  • I lemon quartered lenthways and sliced fine
  • 10.5 ozs/300g dried apricots (chopped at least into eight)
  • 7 ozs/200g dried sultanas
  • Half lb-1lb/225g-450g of soft brown sugar, depending on how sweet your wild plums/damsons/eating plums are.
  • 4.4ozs/125g of tamaring block (soaked for 20 minutes in a mug of boiling water then seive and reject the seeds). I added the tamarind infused water to the chutney too.
  • You can used two tablespoons of tamarind paste as an alternative.
  • 2″ stick of cinnamon
  • 2 large cloves of garlic chopped fine
  • Half tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of allspice powder
  • 1 tsp of allspice berries
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1and a half pints/750 ml of white wine vinegar
  • 3 small hot birdseye chillies (seeds removed) Chopped fine
  • 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of yellow mustard seed
  1. Stone the plums and if big enough cut into slices.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large heavy bottomed (non reactive) saucepan and bring slowly to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down immediately and simmer very gently (tiny bubbles just breaking the surface on the lowest heat) for at least five hours until the mixture has broken down and thickend.
  3. Stir from time to time and more towards the end. If your simmering point is higher than ours, your chutney will be ready sooner. Take a peek every half hour or so. The chutney will thicken as it cools.
  4. When ready pour into sterilised jars and cover with plastic lined metal lids.

  Leave a reply


  1. Wilfred – it’s Fiona’s concoction and it is superb.

    So good that we are chomping our way through the first batch (I have it with everything except cornflakes) so Fiona made more a few days ago and bottled it today. She took me to her favourite wild cherry plum grove yesterday. I have never seen such an abundance of fruit. The ground was carpeted in windfalls. She says it is good every second year so we want to take full advantage of the fabulous bounty.

  2. Wilfred Peebles

    Danny’s done it again! Top marks to a top chef. Who would have thought it…plum and tamarind…together, in a union of fruity fusion. This has certainly taken prime position in my melange of preserves. Thanks again Danny! Wilfred Peebles (chief stamp collector of the stamp collectors society).

  3. Jane aka:aromatic

    Must give this a try, sounds delicious and I am very lucky to have a plum tree just bursting with plums this year!!!
    Thank… love Jane xxx

  4. This plum and tamarind chutney is out of this world. We had some last night with grilled lamb chops. It is definitely the best fruit chutney that I have ever tasted. It is light and upbeat and the fruit flavours really come through but in a manner that does not overpower the main dish.
    Super 🙂

  5. seahorse

    Many thanks, you are a treasure

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Michelle (NZ)

    Yes I’m delighted with this chutney. Gave some to my mum and she loved it too.

    Still resting most of the day 🙂

    Hello Lucette

    It’s really easy to make and yummy too. Please have a go at the bacon we’ve got a small joint curing ATM.

    Hello Helen

    Yes Oded Schwartz’s Preserving is well worth snapping up if you see it. Very inspirational.

    As we are going into Autumn, you’ll be going into Spring.

    Hi Seahorse

    I’m not sure what you are making. Is it greengage cheese? If so match the volume of the pulp to the same volume of white granulated sugar. If it’s jam match the original weight of the greengages with the same amount of sugar – however you could cut the amount of sugar down to 1.4 and still get a set – it just depends how sweet you want the jam.

  7. seahorse

    This sounds yummy, and v classy too.
    Timely as well from my point of view as I’ve just made a silly error and wonder how to proceed with:

    2.4kg greengages, which turned into 1.4kg after cooking and with stones taken out. Feeling confused. Never usually weigh the pulp.

    Do I add the original 2.4kg sugar? Or 1.4kg?

    Yours befuddledly


  8. OMG. YUM! Can’t wait for plums to come into season here (Australia).
    Will have to stake out all the local secondhand bookshops for Preserving.

  9. Lucette

    This chutney looks fabulous, and I have to make some. And I also have to make the home made bacon. thanks for both.

  10. Michelle in NZ

    My tastebuds would so like to emigrate to your place. YUM

    Will have to be patient and wait for Summer plums.

    hope all this bounty to preserve is adding to your healing and not sapping your strength.

    Care and many gentle, caring huggles,

    Michelle and a sound asleep (hooray) Zebbycat

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