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With so many plums on hand, I’ve gotten creative. There’s only so much jam you can make and give away when everyone else is also making it. It’s sort of like “zucchini season” in Pennsylvania when everyone is overwhelmed with their harvest.

This is an adaptation of a British chutney recipe from Saveur. I localised it to use ingredients we can get here in Japan.

Ume chutney
makes about 4 cups

1.3 kg ume
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar (tubinado/cane)
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup raisins
1 onion sliced thin
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1-2″ fresh ginger, mined
1 Tbsp black mustard seed
1 tsp peppercorns
6 whole dried chilis
1 Tbsp salt

Wash the ume and discard any with holes that show the fauna have been nibbling. Count the ume (optional but you’ll be grateful for this later) Boil the ume until the skins break and the fruit is a little soft – this shaves hours off the total cooking time. Drain the water and set aside.

In a large pan, bring the vinegar and two sugars to a simmer. When the sugar is dissolved, add everything except the plums. Bring back to a simmer and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add the plums.

Simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring to avoid sticking.

When the pits are obviously detatched from the fruit, fish them out with tongs or however you feel like doing it. When your pit count equals the ume count, from when you washed them, you can be confident you got them all.

Put the pits in a strainer and smush the pulp back into the pot. Continue to simmer until the chuntey is a camelised brown and a soft channel forms when you run a spoon through the mixture.

Transfer to sterilised jars, nad process them in a water bath in the standard canning procedure. Sealed jars should last a year unrefridgerated. Unsealed jars, about a month in the fridge.