I just missed the apricot harvest this year.
While I packed my carry-on, they ripened on the trees, and when I got back from Maine they were gone. The heat sent them falling to the ground, crushed like my heart. All those jars I never made. But then I saw the plums.
And I kind of got over it.
It’s true what they say, all it takes is time.
You know one time I wrote a song about stone fruit? Ok, well it was kind of about stone fruit but mostly about my boyfriend. I played it for him and he wasn’t too happy about it. Maybe it had something to do with the lyrics?
Say you’re afraid of the pit/that sits where my heart used to sit
Well I’m afraid of the spots/that darken on that thin skin you’ve got
How’s this gonna work baby if you’re all soft and I’m a stone fruit
Though I’m hard inside, I’m hard inside, I wanna be soft with you
This happened shortly before we broke up. Have I mentioned I’m in recovery from being really passive-aggressive?
Wait, where was I? Breakups, boyfriend, song, stone fruit.. oh yeah, stone fruit.
So anyway the plums helped me through my apricotless state of grief, not to mention the tomatoes in the garden, those big juicy show-offs.
There was only one thing to do with a handful each of plums and tomatoes. Chutney!
It tastes like summer. And a tiny bit like Christmas. Which is an anomaly, like those year-round Christmas shops. What weirdo consumers are keeping those guys open in this economy?! (My apologies to any Christmas-obsessed weirdo consumers following this blog.)
Anyway. Chutney. It’s tart and sweet and warm from the spices. Plums, tomatoes, and granny smith apples are paired with apple cider vinegar and honey. Throw in some spices, stir it for a few minutes, and you’re golden.
Chop that fruit! Lick your fingers, it’s a juicy business.
Cut into the plums skin-side-down, otherwise their insides will separate from the skin and skoosh all over. Save the skooshing for the pan.
I will give you a dollar if you can name the national park featured in this photo. Is it okay if the dollar is in the form of an IOU? Ok, great, we have a deal.
Bubbly chutney. Stir it up.
Ooh, look! It’s done. Ready to be slathered on a sandwich or a hunk of meat.
Which is what I did here. I made this lamb recipe, basically, and the chutney added a nice brightness to the dish.
Maybe I’m being too humble. It did more than add a nice brightness, it made the dish AWESOME.
On that note, here’s the recipe.
- 1 cup chopped and pitted plums
- 1/2 cup chopped and peeled granny smith apple
- 1/2 cup chopped tomato
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup white onion
- 1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp mustard seeds (I used both brown and yellow)
- 1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice seasoning
- 1 pinch ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Chop the plums, apple, and tomatoes and combine in a small bowl. Chop the lemon zest and mince the garlic and ginger; add these to the bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the apple cider vinegar and honey until boiling.
- Add the fruit mixture and remaining spices.
- Stir continuously over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes while the chutney reduces and thickens. Turn down the heat if necessary.
- Taste and adjust spices as you desire.
- Let the chutney cool slightly and then serve with your favorite dish.
Cut the plums skin-side-down, and use a sharp knife. This will ensure a clean cut. Otherwise the skin will detach from the fruit.
Flavors will deepen, and the chutney is even better the next day.