This summer the fruit trees in the garden are producing an abundant amount of fruit. Limbs heavily laden with plums threaten break under the weight of all of the fruit. Time to preserve some of this bounty for the future!
Plums are loaded with electrolytes, minerals and vitamins like potassium, calcium, and vitamin C, as well as lots of fiber (the fox scat all around the garden sheds light on the bowel-supportive nature of eating plums!). While ripe plums are sweet, plums have been found to have a beneficial effect on our blood sugar. Combining plums with medicinal and culinary herbs and spices makes for potently delicious sauces; I'm experimenting with different forms of sweet and savory sauces, from the Chinese-inspired traditional plum sauce and various chutneys to a smooth and rich sauce my children will love over waffles. So many possible variations on the theme!
I'll definitely be making and canning more.
This chutney, like most Indian-inspired cuisine, is chock-full of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, most notably ginger and turmeric. Onions lend potent phytochemicals quercetin and allicin, and the cumin and coriander, like most spices, have health promoting anti-oxidative and anti-microbial effects. Plus so much deliciousness.
Plums: a basketful, or approximately 12 cups quartered, pits removed. (Scale depending on how much you are making and storing. This recipe yielded about 64 ounces of chutney, which I canned in 4 little 8 oz jars and one larger quart (32 oz) jars.)
Onion: 1 small yellow, coarsely chopped
Coriander: 1 tsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Fresh Ginger: 2 inch section, coarsely chopped
Turmeric root: 2 inch finger, coarsely chopped
Crushed red pepper: 1/2 tsp
Maple syrup: 2 tablespoons (to taste; I kept the sugar lower than many chutney recipes to boost the health effects. Also depends on how tart your plums are!)
Salt: Pinch, to taste
(you could take this in other directions, too, with cinnamon and nutmeg, for example, or add a little vinegar. Given the tartness of the plums, I left the vinegar out)
If canning the chutney, prepare your canning set-up (wash and sterilize your jars and rims, set up canning pot with rack in the bottom and begin heating the water.)
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on low-medium, stirring, until the plums soften and dissolve into the sauce, for about 15 minutes. At this point you could either run through a blender or food processor or leave it textured, as I did.
Ladle the mixture into your jar, leaving a "headspace" of about 1/4" to 1/2" at the top.
Seal the jar and submerge it in the canning pot, boiling it for 15 minutes.
Let the flavors combine and mature for at least a week before eating. This will keep for a year once canned, or a week in the refrigerator.