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a dark Italian and a pink lady

Hah! So that got your attention? : )   (Not bait & switch, I promise –  I’ll explain in a moment. )

I love foods that dance in the mouth! Several years back I determined that I was going to concoct a   r.e.a.l.l.y.   fine chutney of my own. The result is here….and, though normally possessed of a fair amount of humility which would prohibit me from admitting such a thing – turns out, this truly is a really fine chutney! (As well as a fine & saucy dancer!)

If you haven’t formally met, let me introduce you to Chutney. (For those of you who’ve had the pleasure, just keep talking amongst yourselves. I’ll be back with you in a moment.) Chutney is a condimentmeant to go with things, to enhance their flavors, to excite and intrigue the palate. It can be made with all sorts of ingredients, but almost always with some sort (or combination) of fruits. That’s the sweet of it. (Well, there’s generally sugar too, because we’re about to make a preserve and sugar helps.) Then there’s the spicy of it – you might taste warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, allspice, star anise, cardamom, pepper, hot chilies, etc etc. And there’s the sour of it – maybe a combination of vinegar, lime, lemon. Frequently there will be a bit of onion and garlic too, but you might not know it once it’s all cooked down. A touch of salt to round all the flavors out to fullness. And then it’s cooked for a good while as all the flavors mingle and the ingredients soften to jam.

What use would you then put your chutney to? OH! You’d dollop a spoonful atop virtually any Indian dish or curry… put it with meats, or poultry (chicken and turkey love it!)…put it on a sandwich (heaven!)…put it with soft, creamy cheese (try goat!) or a salty hard cheese, on bread or crackers, on your scrambled eggs, on roasted vegetables, or on cold salmon. Honest to goodness, it’s addictively seductively aromatically pungently delicious! And you’ll find no shortage of uses for it!

{breathe………..}     So! you were wondering about the Italian and a pink lady, right? Quite simple, really, and not nearly as exciting as you might have hoped… this here sexy little chutney is made of Italian plums (sometimes called Italian “prunes” not dried out though, of course!) and Pink Lady apples. And because a very good friend and I will be collaborating on some rather scrumptious (mostly vegetarian) Indian dishes this coming season, I wanted to be sure you had plenty of really fine chutney on hand.

In the finished jars of chutney you’ll see pieces of brilliant apple, golden raisins plumped, thin sticks of golden ginger, little dark dots of currants, bits of lemon rind, all floating in a sea of plum.

Below I’ll give you the instructions for canning this chutney, though it’s just as fine to simply cook, pop in jars and freeze. You don’t need to use the Italian plum (that small one with the grey purple skin and the golden fruit inside) though it’s a fantastically delicious one. (I think it’s the best to cook with.) But use any you like…and they don’t all need to be fully ripe either. Pink Lady apples are really wonderful cooked…they hold their shape and their flavor is outstanding. But again, use any that holds up well to cooking. I used a whole lemon. Yes, peel too. Trust me on this one. Everything but the very center pulp and the seeds.

The next several posts that will be coming out over the remainder of the week will be fairly straight forward…probably a little less photography than usual. I’ll explain the (exciting) reason why very soon. So with no further delay, here it is,

The Sweet/Sour Love Affair of an Italian and his Pink Lady

Or

Spree’s Plum Apple Chutney

  • 4 cups Italian Plums
  • 1 cup Apple
  • 2½ – 3 cups light brown sugar (we like the lesser amount)
  • 1 onion (I used red for this one)
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 fat clove garlic
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup currants
  • ½cup raisins (gold are nice)
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 oz fresh ginger, julienned (½ cupful)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

Preparing the ingredients:

Plums – wash, remove the stone and cut in approximately ½-inch pieces

Apple – Peel, core and cut into approximately ½-inch pieces

Onion – chop medium

Garlic – mince

Lemon – (organic is best since you’ll be using the peel) wash, removing seeds & center-most white part, cut into approximately ¼-inch pieces

Measure everything else, pop all into a pot, place over medium high heat to bring to boil. Reduce temperature to simmer (still gently bubbling.) Cook long and slow until thick. (This will likely take at least a couple hours, but you’re free to go about your business unless your business requires you leave home for 8.) Stir occasionally. You’re waiting for this to become the consistence of a good jam, keeping in mind that it will thicken a bit further once cooled.

After about 1 hour it looks like this:

After about 2½ hours it may be looking about like this. About ready for jars:

While the chutney’s bubbling away, you can make the simple preparations for canning. (Or simply wash jars & lids with hot soap water for freezing.)

For canning:

Sterilize the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot.  Put the flat lids of the jars in a heatproof bowl and set aside.

Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into a heatproof bowl with lids. Using a jar lifter, pull the sterilized jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from them back into the pot.  Place them upright on a folded towel.

When chutney is ready for the jars:            Ladle the hot chutney into the jars, leaving ¼-inch headroom at the top. Using a damp paper towel, wipe the rim of the jar, then place on the flat lid and ring and screw on only finger-tight. Now place the jars into the water bath, making sure to have the jars covered by at least one inch of water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes to process. Lift the jars from the canner, placing them on a folded towel. Leave undisturbed for 12 hours. (If you’re using Weck jars follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)

After one hour check to make sure that the flat lid has sealed by pressing down on the center of it. If it can be pushed down, it hasn’t sealed – no harm done – but the jar should be refrigerated or frozen right away. (The test for a Weck jar is if the rubber seal is tilting down, the seal is secure.) Sealed jars of chutney will store nicely on your pantry shelves for a year.

~ ~ ~

{  To print and save this recipe, click here.  }

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love the chutney, Spree. With hundreds of apple trees, you know I’m going to be making this.

    September 12, 2012
    • HUNDREDS of apple trees, you truly must Karen! I do truly think you’ll love this chutney! 🙂

      September 13, 2012
  2. “food that dances in the mouth”…love how that sounds!

    September 12, 2012
    • ; ) and I love how it tastes. Thank you!

      September 13, 2012
  3. Man the canning jar, guys; we’ve got a big recipe coming!

    September 12, 2012
    • You’re funny Ronnie! : )

      September 13, 2012
  4. I love a good chutney! This sounds so fabulous.

    September 12, 2012
    • (humbly, honestly) it is.

      September 13, 2012
  5. Great great post. I’m on a chutney kick. Just did a peach and have plums begging to be also included. I did an asian plum sauce but now I see it’s only fair to make some plum chutney. And yes, I put it on EVERYthing! Like on smoked black cod this morning for instance 🙂

    September 12, 2012
    • Oh, you see! Chutney is gorgeous in the morning! On smoked black cod, be still my heart! : ) I’ve had (and loved) a lot of chutneys Wendy, but I don’t think I’ve ever loved one more than plum. If they’re begging, I do hope you’ll include them! Asian plum sauce? Did you post it? Did I miss it? I’ve been missing some very good ones lately. (If you’ve posted it, I’d love to try.) Thanks so much for your comment Wendy!

      September 13, 2012
  6. I’m mad for chutney and my cupboard is filled with pots of the stuff, some made by friends and some store bought. Sharwoods make a very good Mango Chutney. I think tamarind paste is an ingredient that I would always include in a chutney recipe, but that may be bad advice as I never make it – I only eat it. Beautiful shots of the chutney and the bottled product. The north light is serving you well:)

    September 13, 2012
    • I thought you might be mad for chutney Roger! 🙂 I think tamarind paste is a great idea – a wonderful way to get that very unique brand of sour! I guess with such generous friends you’ll never find the need to make it. I wish I could ship you a jar of this to sit amongst all the others on your pantry shelf!
      (I do love that north light Roger!)

      September 13, 2012
  7. I am one of those who have never had chutney and thoroughly enjoyed this post.
    I think I need to give this a try in a small amount soon and test it out on the family and see where we can go from there
    Thank you for the recipe and the info Spree 🙂

    September 13, 2012
    • Thank you Sawsan! I’m happy if chutney intrigues you a bit now! I do hope you’ll try it. I suppose for some it’s an “acquired” taste, though I acquired it awfully fast! If your family likes a bit of heat, this will be just right as it is. If they’re more apt to call out, “Spicy!!” then you may want to cut the amount of chili flakes and cayenne slightly. Thanks again Sawsan…I always love your comments. 🙂

      September 13, 2012
  8. that looks incredible spree. I’ve been ordered to make apple chutney by my mother… we also have damsons to use so what I make might end up being something like this I guess :D. If it does, I’ll be happy!

    September 13, 2012
    • Oh Nick! It’s sounding like you Must try this then, yes?! I hope you do! I’d love to know what you (and your mum) think! : )

      September 13, 2012
  9. I adore chutney and this looks like the King, Queen and Emperor of all chutneys!

    September 13, 2012
    • Aw, Chica! So nice to see you again here!

      September 13, 2012
  10. Count me in !! Love chutney with curries, in sandwhiches, on crackers…….. I haven’t made any for a couple of years and reading Roger’s comment about adding tamarind I’m tempted, oh so tempted !

    September 13, 2012
    • I think this might be right up your alley Claire. Let me know if you succumb to the temptation! 🙂

      September 13, 2012
  11. Sounds delicious! And the photos are amazing. I haven’t ventured yet into the whole canning thing, but I’m considering it 😉

    September 14, 2012
  12. I started exploring Indian cooking earlier this year and am planning to get back to that this fall. Having a chutney like this on hand will be the perfect complement to a spicy meal! The colour is so deep yet vibrant – very appealing. I had no idea I could freeze chutney, so welcome that tip. BTW, I adore Italian prune plums – whenever they’re in season I buy as many as I can and then eat them right up! This is a great way to make them last.

    September 14, 2012
  13. Well.. now that was a seductive description if I’ve ever read one!! I’m loving the flavors in this chutney, spree.. and now I’m certain you’ve got me imagining it topping every dish in the next few weeks.. so now it’s time to make some of my own. How pretty it looks all jarred and sparkling!! *sigh* just a little spoonful about now would be awesome!! xx

    September 14, 2012
    • haha, you and I were {sigh}ing at the same time, you over the chutney, me over your lovely lemony drink! 🙂 (Like I said to you in a comment on your post, I’m gonna miss you friend!) xo

      September 14, 2012
  14. This looks and sounds delicious, Spree. I just finished pickling more peppers and making fig preserves and had hoped to put away the canning supplies until next year. Your chutney, though, has me re-thinking that goal. It not only looks good but it would make great Christmas gifts, especially for my curry lovin’ friends.I’ll leave it to The Fates to decide. If there are Italian plums and Pink Lady apples at the farmers market tomorrow morning, I’ll spend Sunday making chutney. We’ll see soon enough. Either way, thanks, Spree, for sharing and I cannot wait to see what Indian dishes you’ve planned for us.

    September 22, 2012
  15. carolyn #

    That dark Italian and pink lady know how to make sparks fly in my mouth! Smack! They make a tasty couple.

    October 30, 2012
  16. Looks delicious 😀

    July 25, 2013
  17. Reblogged this on Cupcakes for the Soul.

    July 25, 2013

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