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Fruity Greengage Chutney

Fruity Greengage Chutney

I love fruits with spice. Not just any spice, mind you. Some fruits are made for particular spices, some not so much. It’s a bit like a school playground for the tastebuds. Let’s ponder this a little more; oranges love cloves like apples love cinnamon… and star anise fancies a little apple and orange. It’s a love triangle. Lemon and cardamom have been lifelong chums and are always ready indulge in a spot of tag, but if anyone else tries to join in they get a little uneasy. Oh, and strawberries are fond of black pepper but black pepper doesn’t really enjoy playing with other summer berries.


Do you follow?

Experimenting with fruits and spices is like entering yourself into a lottery where the combinations are extensive, as are the possibilities of amazing as well as not so amazing results. You’ve just got to be prepared to take a gamble. Are you feeling lucky?

I won’t lie; I have a tooth as sweet as a diabetic’s craving for syrup, so I only have one remedy for sour fruits like Greengages.


Please don’t judge me.

Unripened greengages are super sour and hardly edible without being incorporated into some sort of sugar-fuelled dessert. Trust me. They are a part of the plum family and share the same tartness as their purple-hazed cousins, but have an enviable greenness that the Hulk would be proud of.

They are certainly not a traditional Indian ingredient for chutneys, for they are a proud French ingredient… But you know how I love to play with binary opposites. East meets West anyone?

This chutney combines sour greengages, mild onions, sweet sultanas, aromatic fennel, heat-filled black peppercorns and strips of green chilli.


Fruity Greengage and Fennel Chutney


6 unripened greengages (about a cup), stoned and chopped into chunks
¾ cup onions, chopped finely
¼ cup golden sultanas
2 tbsp butter (or oil)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp fennel powder
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
1 hot green chilli, de-seeded and cut into thin strips


1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the onions until translucent.

2. Add the chopped greengages and combine. Add the sultanas, black peppercorns and sugar and cook until thick and syrupy. Try not to stir too much as this will break up the nice, chunky pieces of greengage and onion. I just swirled the chutney in the pan (carefully) to prevent it from sticking.

3. Add the fennel powder and chilli strips and mix. At this point you could also add an extra tsp of butter to get a nice glossy sheen. You know I did.

4. Pile into a sterilised jar and refrigerate once cool.


Serve with crusty bread, in hearty cheese sandwiches, as a dip for poppadoms and spicy starters or scoop it up with your fingers and pile it into your mouth (probably best to do this when nobody is around). If you can’t get away from people then try using Indian breads (e.g. puris, chapattis, parathas, bhaturas) as shovels for your chutney-craving tongues.

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Tuesday 8th of July 2014

My mum just gave me a bag of unripe greengage from her neighbours tree, which had to be cut back as it had got out of control then I found your recipe by Googling for unripe greengage recipes. So I will add a foraged food element to your comments section and try this chutney recipe tomorrow.  It looks like an inspired combination of flavours, right up my street, makes my mouth water just reading it. And great pictures! 

If you get this post before tomorrow, please let me know if you think I could use fresh fennel root, how much you'd recommend using. I will probably add it in at the onion stage.

Can't wait! Thanks again! 


Tuesday 8th of July 2014

Hi Gee. Thanks for your comment and so glad you're trying it! You can absolutely add fresh fennel root and yes, add at the onion stage to soften and sweeten it up. Add some of the green fennel fronds too - they will give the chutney a wonderful flavour.

Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

saints bapu

Wednesday 4th of August 2010

Tasted it and what a taste.


Jhonny walker

Monday 2nd of August 2010

Hey Sanjana,

where have you been? I don't see any updated from you and decided you re-search you out. And it seems you have been posting-- fantatsic recipes as such-- but I haven't been recieving any! tsk tsk tsk

This looks super good. Chutney..aah what won't I do for deserts like these :)

Ushnish Ghosh

Sunday 1st of August 2010

Dear SanjanaI am sure you are out off the graduation hangover and going great guns with internship...Very nice recipe ..I like it..not posting any blog these days ..only reading and enjoying Have an exciting week ahead

Thursday 29th of July 2010

Wonderful tangy chutney and awesome clicks too.