Wild Plum Chutney

Plum Chutney

Alright, alright, these aren’t wild plums, but they were picked out in the open as I mentioned in my last post, from plum trees hanging over the walls of other people’s gardens. At the weekend my girlfriend and I saw two such trees, one just around the corner from her house and another on a walk we went on which took us past Chequers – a residence of the Prime Minister. From two small branches of each tree we managed to alight more than 4 kilograms of plums, this seems quite a lot to pick from someone else’s tree, but they were already slightly over-ripe and there was no sign of them getting picked. The fact that they were slightly over-ripe made them even more alluring, especially for chutney making.

This was my first ever attempt at making a preserve – jam, chutney or otherwise. I think it turned out rather well. Not only does the chutney have a very prominent flavour of plum, it also has undertones of spice and deliciousness – all in all it balanced out very well. As such it works perfectly with cheese and crackers as well as spicy dishes – the sweetness of the plums compliments both styles of eating very well indeed.

As you can probably tell I’m trying to take full advantage of the summer fruits this year. My advice to those of you who want to find tasty and free fruit is to keep your eyes peeled. This can be done in two ways – either you can look up into many trees as you walk by in search of lovely, juicy fruit, or look at the floor for traces of fallen fruit. Blackberries are probably the most common wild fruit, but in certain areas, namely Buckinghamshire, one can find silly amount of blackcurrants. Other fruit such as apples, plums and raspberries can also be found but are slightly harder to find. Of course if you live in a city it’s unlikely that you’ll find too many of these trees, but in green areas it’s still worth keeping one’s eyes peeled even for things like rosemary and thyme.

Plum Chutney {recipe}

Makes 2 jars


• 500g plums, roughly chopped and pitted

• 1 medium sized onion, very finely chopped

• 100ml white wine vinegar

• A splash of water, no more than 50ml

• 1 tsp cinnamon

• 100g Demerara sugar

• Oil


1. Fry the onions in oil, preferably olive oil, until soft and translucent. Add the plums, vinegar, water, cinnamon and sugar. Stir and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes until the plums have softened and the preserve has thickened a little.

2. In order to properly seal the preserve in the jars and make sure no bacteria remains pop them in the oven at around 100C for 5 minutes until hot. Divide the chutney between the jars and seal tightly. Do not open until completely cooled. It will taste best if left for a few days – this will allow the flavours to develop.

Cost: I don’t really know how much plums cost per kilo in the supermarkets, but I don’t think 500g would cost much more than £1.20. With free plums each jar of chutney will cost around 35p – not bad considering a jar of good chutney generally costs around £1.80.


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31 comments on “Wild Plum Chutney

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    August 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    That looks fabulous. I wish my neighbors had such trees close to our fence!

  2. ceciliag
    August 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    hah! Great city foraging skills! I love plum chutney! c

  3. mbnilsson
    August 17, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I’ll have to keep this in mind for when my friend’s tree is ready for the picking. I have been wondering what to do with plums. I suppose it doesn’t matter too much whether they are red or purple as long as they are ripe? I’ll be looking forward to the promised plum muffins post. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      August 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Oh yeh, it doesn’t matter too much. The more purple the better but the ripeness is the most important consideration. Thanks for visiting my blog, please come back! The muffins will be arriving soon!

  4. thebigfatnoodle
    August 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Great idea, the plums on our first plum tree are just about ready for picking!

    • frugalfeeding
      August 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      Just wait for the plum muffins too. You can have a bonanza.

  5. chocolatecauldron
    August 17, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    This looks lovely. The quick cooking method has kept the colour. You can sterilise jars in the dishwasher and also by putting abut an inch of water in the bottom and putting in the microwave for a minute.

    • frugalfeeding
      August 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm

      Ah thanks! The oven way seems a little simpler and quicker though. Thanks for the tip though!

  6. zoe@myfoodintranslation
    August 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Awesome use of the city’s natural resources! It’s really cool that you include the cost of your recipes too, just goes to show that eating well doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, but quite the opposite…

  7. maryklein8
    August 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    This will be handy! We have two plum trees in Seattle that make more plums than we know what to do with. We’ll can them! We’re already pros at canning pickles and beets. Shouldn’t be too hard. 🙂

  8. Rachel Raczka
    August 19, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Looks amazing! I’m very jealous of how simple you make this look!

  9. cookinginsens
    August 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Great looking recipe for chutney! I’m wondering if it would work for the mirabelles that are now in season…..

  10. Kelly
    August 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Oh my goodness…that has my name written all over it!

  11. jen at chocolateandginger.com
    August 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Fantastic idea, I have a ton of plums and apricots and have been getting a bit tired of crumbles, a chutney is a great idea 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      August 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Do it! It’s lovely. I get a bit bored of crumbles too – they can get a little heavy.

  12. lilysusannah
    August 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    This looks SO yummy. I love chutney, and what a fantastic way to use up fruit.

  13. Joanne
    August 27, 2011 at 8:05 am

    If only I weren’t so afraid of canning…lol. I need to suck it up and do it one of these days! I’ve got tons of plums in my fridge, they are such a beautiful fruit!

    • frugalfeeding
      August 27, 2011 at 10:19 am

      Seriously it’s incredibly easy, no need to be afraid at all.

  14. mbnilsson
    August 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Should be heading to my friend’s tomorrow to pick some plums. Don’t know how many I’ll end up with, but it would be fun to try a chutney. So do you leave the skins on?

    • frugalfeeding
      August 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      Oh yes, please the skins on, it’s where quite a lot of the flavour is. If you do make them, let me know if the recipe is ok.

  15. jamieott
    August 30, 2011 at 2:38 am

    Brilliant idea. I will be making this.

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