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. I just made this using Italian prune plums, which are very common here (Vancouver, Canada). It was absolutely sublime! I used 2 T of tamarind paste, as recommended in the Schwartz book, since I already have it around for Indian cooking.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Alys

    Yes that will work – I used it myself in my second batch. Use two tablespoons (level)

  3. Hi,

    I have something which calls itself tamarind concentrate (it’s a paste) in the cupboard, is this the same as tamarind paste? And should I still use 2 tablespoons?

    I’m a bit of chutney newbie and don’t want to mess up the quantities, as this recipe looks really tasty.

  4. I have put in into the simmering oven and will leave it in there for most of the day. Fingers crossed. I have plenty of plums to start again if all fails.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kerry

    I’m sure that you can as people have been making this in their slow cooker.

    I’m not sure about timings though – could you Google chutney/AGA for some ideas. I simmer this for hours to cut down the maturing time.

  6. Has anyone made this delicious sounding chutney in their Aga? Just wondered if I bring it to the boil on the boiling plate whether I can finish cooking in the simmering oven and how long that would take.

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Snorkmaiden

    That’s great. We love it too. Thinking of making a third batch next week!

  8. snorkmaiden

    Just made this chutney last night and had it on a fat bacon sandwich this morning – delicious.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sebbie

    I bought my Tamarind block from Tesco. But you can buy the paste from most supermarkets. I’ve just made a second batch of this using 2 tablespoons of paste and it worked fine.

  10. Where would I get hold of Tamarind Fiona? I am trying to study andthe idea of chutney making later is sustaining me 🙂

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