Summer is winding down. The weather is still warm -- very warm -- but the calendar says I'll soon need sweaters and firewood.
But for now, I'm having a blast in the kitchen. I've been getting Shiro plums from Mark, four doors down. Across the street hazelnuts are ripening on a tree with a limb that arches over the sidewalk. And my back-yard neighbor, Jean, has been plying me with plums.
Last weekend, the weekend of my mom's 80th birthday party, she dropped ten pounds of plums on me.
2 cups sugar
1 package of candied ginger -- about 3 or 4 ounces
2 Tbsp cardamom, ground in a spice mill.
Cook for two hours or until fruit breaks down.
Run through a food mill to separate skins from flesh
Cook, cook, cook till thick. A spoon dipped in the mix should come away with a slow, single point of drippage.
OR buy a package of fruit pectin and follow the directions.
It made about eight cups of jam.
Yesterday, Jean brought me another six pounds of plums. Today, I'm making plum-blueberry chutney. I can't wait to serve it with turkey on Thanksgiving. It'll also be killer on roast pork. Maybe I'll even use it as a glaze.
In the past I've been timid about canning savory and sweet ingredients -- which is the very definition of chutney.* But right now I have so many plums that I grow bold. No longer am I content to just put fruit in a pie** or make simple jam.
Today I make chutney.
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1-1/5 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 cups dried blueberries (the original recipe called for currants -- which I didn't have -- so I used dried blueberries. If I'd had cherries, I'd have used them instead. The point being that you should use what you have on hand.)
2 ea sticks of cinnamon
5 ea cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 tspn red pepper flakes
1 tspn Kosher salt
Combine all ingredients and cook until the fruit breaks down. It took about three hours.
The flavor profile is incredible. The cinnamon comes through but the blueberries really shine.
I processed both the jam and the chutney in sterile jars.
* It's a family of condiments from Southern India which combine fruits, spices and vegetables. I bet I could make a chutney from the contents of the typical refrigerator veg bin. Hmmm sounds like a future blog post.
** Although I did make BF CeeLee a plum/apple pie yesterday.