This spicy, oniony plum chutney is a fantastic condiment to make during plum season. A savory plum jam, you’ll find so many ways to use it: as a sandwich spread, on a cheese board, even in place of ketchup!
If you love savory jams, you may also want to check out my savory fig jam and my chipotle bacon jam. Both are also excellent condiments to keep in your fridge. And for a sweet spin on plums, try my peach plum jam.
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Why This Recipe is a Stand-Out
If you’re new to savory jams (which are chutneys by another name), you’ll want to give this plum version a try.
Technically, chutneys should include ginger, chiles, and garlic. But there are some very famous Indian chutneys that do not contain all three (hello, cilantro mint chutney and tamarind chutney), so whoever made up that trinity of chutney flavors rule is wrong (so sayeth me).
Here’s why this plum chutney should be on your radar, in your kitchen, and eventually in your mouth:
- No refined sugar: I use a combination of Thai palm sugar and honey to lightly sweeten this jam.
- Why Thai palm sugar? It has a lovely floral sweetness, and while it’s a solid, it turns creamy and easily melts into the chutney. It is lower on the glycemic index than granulated sugar at around 35 compared to granulated sugar’s GI of 68. That means it will have less of an effect on your blood sugar if that is a concern for you.
- Balance of flavors: I am kind of a balance nut when it comes to flavors. I want my sweet to be balanced by salty and sour and hot, and tangy and all the things. Given that there are only 11 ingredients in this recipe, there really is a nice balance of flavors going on which makes it a much more interesting recipe than a straight-up sweet jam
- Easy to make: You don’t need a ton of equipment, and it’s up to you whether you decide to run it through a food mill or not. I made mine both ways, and the difference is really fairly minimal.
- Great with meats: Your leftover turkey sandwich will never stop thanking you. Seriously. This is a great accompaniment to all white meat, and pork too. Delicious served warmed or chilled.
- Versatile condiment: Looking for great cheese plate ideas? Plum chutney should make your short list.
How to Make Plum Chutney
If you can cut fruit in half, you can make this chutney. Let’s check out everything you’ll need.
- Plums: I used black plums, but use what you have. Substitution ideas: any stone fruit such as peaches, apricots, pluots, cherries or any combination of the above
- Onion: I use sweet onion. Use the onions you have. The sharper notes of red onion would be lovel here, but consider scaling back the amount to 1/2 small to medium red onion so you don’t overpower your fruit
- Thai palm sugar: You can use all honey if you prefer, but I really do love the floral sweetness of the palm sugar. It was a new-to-me ingredient I bought on a whim, but now I’m using it in lots of things, including sometimes to sweeten my coffee.
- Honey: Any variety
- Red Wine Vinegar: You can also use white vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar–pretty much any vinegar you have that isn’t too dark in color. Not because darker vinegars won’t work, but to preserve the beautiful ruby color of the plums
- Crystallized Ginger: Adds a tingle of heat and warmth
- Whole grain mustard: Adds a sharpness to the jam as well as providing the fun texture of biting into little seeds and having them pop in your mouth
- Jalapenos: You can use fresh or pickled here–whatever you have. And adjust the amount according to your taste.
- Cinnamon sticks: My cinnamon sticks are older than some middle schoolers, so I used 2 sticks. If your cinnamon sticks are younger than toddlers, you may be able to use just one.
- Kosher salt: I use Morton’s. There’s more salt in this savory jam than I’d put in a sweet one, and it’s there to bring out flavors and provide balance to the whole recipe.
- Black pepper: Not strictly necessary, but I come from the world where salt and pepper go together. You may leave it out if you’d like. Or substitute a tiny bit of cayenne for more heat.
- Vanilla: I love the floral complexity that vanilla brings to plums. The vanilla rounds out the flavors of this chutney nicely. Add it off the heat to really taste the impact.
The process of making your chutney is really very easy, friends. Here’s the rundown:
- Wash the plums, slice them in half, remove the pits, and toss them in the pot.
- Add everything else except the vanilla to the pot.
- Cook and cook until thick, reduced, and jammy.
- Add the vanilla off the heat.
If you decide you are going to even out the texture with a food mill, run it through about halfway through cooking. I used the coarse die.
If you want your chutney smoother but don’t want to use the food mill or don’t have one, you can use a stick blender or food processor to pulse it to your desired consistency.
Equipment You May Need
You’ll want a heavy-bottomed saucepan. I love a saucier for jam-making. The wider opening allows the jam to reduce more quickly (more surface area=faster evaporation) while the sloped sides make it very easy to stir and keep it from sticking in the corners of the pan.
I also love my OXO food mill for this. There are tons of different brands out there, but I chose OXO because I trust the brand and because it was not super expensive.
If you don’t have or don’t want to get a food mill, you can also use an immersion blender or a food processor to smooth out the texture of your finished jam.
Tips and Tricks for Success
Tip for pitting the plums
Oftentimes, plum pits will split inside the fruit making them hard to remove. When that happens use a melon baller to scrape out the “pit bits.” Easy!
Tip for the palm sugar
While the palm sugar comes in small half-spheres, it is fairly soft and easy to chop up with a chef knife. You can also toss them into the mix whole, smashing them against the sides of the pan as they heat up.
They become very creamy and soft and just melt into the rest of the ingredients, so don’t feel like you have to chop it up before adding it to the pan.
Tips for texture
If you decide not to blend your chutney, take care to cut up all your ingredients into similar-sized pieces. This is most important for the onions, jalapeno, and ginger so that everything cooks evenly and you aren’t wrestling with any big chunks when trying to spread this on crackers or a sandwich.
Forgo using your blender to smooth out the texture. It will make it too smooth, and you may lose all the little bits of ginger, jalapeno, and mustard seeds that make this jam so interesting to eat.
Plum Chutney/Savory Plum Jam Q & A
Even though the flesh of the plums is more yellow, the jam gets its gorgeous red color naturally thanks to all the plum skins. See?
The cheese you have! Seriously though, it’s lovely with sharp, salty cheeses, so think goat cheese, feta, Parmesan.
This recipe is meant to be stored in the fridge and eaten within 3-4 weeks. The acid and sugar should keep it from going bad. If you’re concerned at all about food safety (which you should be, of course) eat it within a couple of weeks.
Absolutely. Since it’s not written as a canning recipe, if you’re not going to eat it all within 3-4 weeks, freeze it. It will last for several months in the freezer.
If you have weighed your options and decided you’re not into making this fabulous savory plum jam, you can purchase some. The Virginia Chutney Company has some spicy plum chutney developed by Nevil Turner that I’m sure it quite good.
If you have any questions about this or any other recipe or post on the site, there are a few ways to get in touch.
You can leave a comment on the post, and I’ll be back in touch within 24 hours.
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- Enjoy it spread on toasted crostini with broiled goat cheese. And make some apple and green tomato chutney to go with it. Your goat cheese will thank you!
- It works beautifully spread on breakfast sandwiches.
- Think of plum chutney as a kind of plum ketchup, so use it in place of ketchup or tomato jam.
- Brush it on grilled meats during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking. In this case, consider thinning it out with a touch of water, apple juice, or vinegar.
- Add it to your arsenal of glaze ideas for ham.
- Dip your chicken tenders or nuggets into it.
- Spread it onto English muffins. If you’re feeling saucy, make my sprouted English muffins or my spent grain English muffins. If not, you’ll still be plenty happy with store bought.
A Note About Measurements
This is the kitchen scale that I recommend for home cooks and bakers. Using a scale will help you be more accurate and consistent in your measurements.
It is lightweight, easy to store, accurate, and very easy to use.
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
I hope you’ve learned something from this post or that you’ve decided to make the recipe.
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The Best Plum Chutney Recipe
This tangy plum chutney is a delicious addition to a cheese board, perfect for spreading on crackers, or for a glaze for all your summer grilling. And freeze some for Thanksgiving. It makes an excellent condiment for a leftover turkey sandwich, too!
- 3 pounds ripe plums
- 1 small-to-medium sweet onion, chopped
- 7 oz palm sugar (not coconut sugar. See NOTES)
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 oz minced crystallized ginger
- 2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh or pickled jalapenos
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Morton's)
- several grinds black pepper
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Wash the plums, cut them in half, and remove the pits.
- Place the fruit in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or saucier.
- Add all the rest of the ingredients except for the vanilla.
- Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Keep at a low boil until the fruit is perfectly soft.
- Mash the fruit against the sides of the pan so there are no large chunks.
- After about 20 minutes, run the mixture through a food mill with the coarse die.
- Scrape the underside of the mill to get all the pulp and return all to the pot.
- Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently, unitl the mixture is thick and jammy.
- Stir in the vanilla off the heat.
- Pour into clean jars, allow to cool, and store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Freeze for longer storage.
You want pure palm sugar, which is sold as little pucks about the color of light brown sugar, not the brown granulated coconut palm sugar.
You should be able to find it in any Asian grocery in the Thai section. If you don't have an Asian market near you, you can also order pure palm sugar from Amazon.
Nutrition InformationYield 32 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 70Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 95mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 1gSugar 16gProtein 0g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
And there you have it, friends. Whether you decide to call this savory plum jam or plum chutney, I hope you make it and enjoy it!
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