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Chef Debi: Fresh spices bring out best in plums

Pear And Plum Chutney over roasted pork loin, served with sweet potatoes and mixed vegetables
Pear And Plum Chutney over roasted pork loin, served with sweet potatoes and mixed vegetables

I love this time of year, when all the fresh fruit is so abundant. One of my favorite fruits is the plum. At 30 calories each, they are a great healthy snack option. Plums also are full of antioxidants that are shown to improve brain memory and are full of fiber.

This pear and plum chutney recipe can have several uses, for example as a glaze over chicken or pork, as a condiment with chicken salad or a turkey sandwich, or as topping on yogurt or ice cream. The possibilities are endless. 

Freshly ground spices are better and more fragrant, but if you do not have them or the means to grind them, store-bought ground spices also will work. 

Pear And Plum Chutney 

2 pounds of Bartlett pears, quartered and deseeded

2 pounds of red, black or blue plums, quartered and pitted

3/4 cup of craisins 

1 whole star anise (or 3/4 teaspoon of ground)

1 whole clove (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove)

1 cinnamon stick (or teaspoon of ground cinnamon)

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

Fresh ginger, a 2-inch piece cut into 1/2 pieces

1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds

1 teaspoon of cracked fresh pepper

Finely grind star anise, clove and cinnamon stick in spice mill or coffee grinder. Combine the spice mixture, vinegars, brown sugar, ginger, mustard seeds and pepper in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and bring to boil.

Add the plums, pears and craisins. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chutney thickens, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use immediately or cool and store in air-tight container in the refrigerator to use later.

• Chef Debi Stuckwisch is the owner of Meals Like Mom’s Personal Chef service in McHenry County. She can be reached at 847-778-9351 or, or visit

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