Tuesday, September 28, 2010

bonus recipe - plum chutney

You may have noticed the Can Jam button that appeared on my blog recently--I'm a total Johnny-come-lately to the Can Jam challenge, but it is an awesome year-long canning bonanza. I encourage you to check it out and try your hand at preserving local, seasonal foods. September was stone fruit month, which I'm totally on board with. I haven't used this plum chutney yet (I just canned it yesterday), but since it will be showing up on my meal plan soon I thought I'd go ahead and post about it.

After the cherry festival on Mt. Hood earlier this summer I made some incredible cherry chutney. I've been in a near panic lately at the thought of running out (only two half-pints left!), so, after spying delicious plums at the farmers' market this week, I decided to try out this plum chutney recipe from chow.com.

I haven't opened a jar yet, but it was tasty--tart and savory--before I processed it. I added a cinnamon stick and crushed red pepper, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. It made eight 4-ounce jars, which, incidentally, are the cutest, tiniest jars ever. If you don't want to preserve the chutney and have ample freezer space, you could store the jars in the freezer, or alternatively, reduce the amounts and make just enough for one meal. It would be great on chicken or pork.

chopped plums:

pot o' ingredients:

same ingredients, 40 minutes later...

finished product:

Plum Chutney

1 1/2 pounds plums, coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup dried currants
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cinnamon stick

Special Equipment:
8 4-ounce jelly jars
8 lids with sealing compound for 4-ounce jelly jars 
8 bands for 4-ounce jelly jars
Boiling water canner or 15- to 20-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid
Canning rack that fits inside the boiling water canner or 15- to 20-quart pot
Thin, flexible rubber spatula
Jar lifter

For sanitizing the jars and lids: Wash the jars, lids, and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Dry the lids and bands, and set aside. Place the jars in a boiling water canner or a 15- to 20-quart pot fitted with a canning rack and a lid. Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat. Keep the jars in the hot water until ready for use, removing one at a time as needed.

For the chutney: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes, or until reduced by 1/3. Continue cooking, stirring frequently to make sure chutney does not burn, until chutney is syrupy, another 10 minutes. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. When chutney is ready, remove the jars from the hot water with a jar lifter, letting excess water drip off. Bring water in the canner back to a simmer (about 180°F) for processing the packed jars. Remove chutney from heat and fill the sterilized jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. To remove any air bubbles, slide a clean rubber spatula down the side of each jar and press inward on the chutney while rotating the jar; repeat 2 to 3 times for each jar.

For processing the packed jars: Wipe the rim and threads of each jar with a clean, damp towel. Place the lids on the jars, checking that the sealing compound is centered. Fit the jars with bands and tighten just until resistance is met. Check that water in the pot or boiling water canner is at a simmer (about 180°F), and set the jars in the canning rack. (The jars must be covered by 1 to 2 inches of water. Add additional boiling water as necessary.) Cover the pot with a tightfitting lid and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Process the jars for 10 minutes at a gentle but steady rolling boil. (Begin calculating the processing time once water is at a rolling boil. Check occasionally that water remains at a steady boil.) Once processed, remove the jars with the jar lifter and set upright, 1 to 2 inches apart, on a dry towel. Do not retighten the bands; let cool at least 12 hours. After the jars have cooled, check for a seal by pressing the center of each lid. If the center is concave and does not flex, remove the band and try to lift off the lid with your fingertips (don’t pull too hard). If you cannot lift the lid, there is a good vacuum seal. If the lid pops off, your jar did not properly seal. Store unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use within two months. To store properly processed jars, wipe each lid and jar with a clean, damp cloth (the bands don’t need to stay on for storage), label the jars, and store them in a cool, dry, dark place. Unopened jars can be kept up to a year when stored properly. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator and use within two months.
Makes 8 4-ounce jars.

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