I like bitter marmalade to the moon and back. Thick cut, medium cut or thin cut, I love it both ways but I am a little particular about the sweetness part. I like my marmalade slightly more bitter. Fans of marmalade are very touchy about how the marmalade should look, taste. Some like it a bit soft, runny while others may prefer a perfectly set, some juice the fruit others chop it and use the pulp with rind, some prefer large, juicy chunky pot of gold while some like the slivers of sun in there bottle. Every texture has a taker who loves this deliciousness. There are hundreds of methods and each is right. I am sharing mine with you though each marmalade recipe is sentimentally personal. Always read the full recipe before starting off to make.
I have made this one with Kinnow and oranges. Both are selling in abundance right now and the fruits are packed with pectin so no artificial pectin added to this recipe. The pips, pith and skin rich in natural pectin will do the job.
Kinnow is basically a hybrid variety of two kinds of citrus cultivars – King (Citrus nobilis) and Willow Leaf (Citrus x deliciosa).cultivated throughout Northern India and even in other citrus growing states.This popular and delicious fruit is considered as one of the healthiest because of its health benefits but those you can Google. Kinnow fruit is juicy and has thicker pulp than oranges and even the pith is thicker. I find them perfect for marmalade. Here I used a few oranges too but didn’t use their peel as it was bruised. Also a twist in taste came with a hint of ginger juice. It gives such a kick to the marmalade I can’t tell you.
Preparing marmalade is a labor of love. It is one of those erotic kitchen romances. If you detest long drawn processes of preparations and cooking then this recipe is not for you. There is a certain joy in peeling oranges, making those slivers of the peel, scooping out the pulp or cutting the fruit with juice dripping all over, the slow cooking and then basking in the bitter sweet aroma of the orange nectar that will fill your home.
Here’s how you will make that magic happen: (I missed two process pix here. (Deleted them by mistake so sorry about that)
Kinnow – 3
Oranges – 2 large (Total fruit pulp was about 1/2 kg or 500 gm)
Sugar – 800 gm (adjustable)
Juice of lemon – 2 tablespoon
Ginger juice – 1/2 tbsp (optional)
Water – 1 liter approx
Wash, wipe and peel the fruit. Always buy firm, ripe fruit that is not bruised.
With a sharp knife scrap the pith from the peels and keep aside. Do the same with the peeled fruit. Remove all the white pith and pips. Collect it in a muslin cloth and tie in tightly to make a pouch.
Now, shred the peel into the desired length and thickness. I sliced into thin it into thin slivers for this batch. Keep it aside and chop the fleshy fruit fine. Some people juice the fruit and discard the pulp or cut the oranges with the rind into moon like slices but my marmalade is not translucent when made it is voluptuous to say the least with a strong citrus flavor and thick texture. The juicing gives a pale clear jelly like texture which you usually see in marmalade.
Meanwhile place a small steel plate in the freezer for the sheet test.
Once you have the pouch, the slivers of peel, the fleshy pulp all ready take a medium size pan and put the slivers of rind in it. Add enough water to cover the rind and boil for ten minutes. Turn off the flame and discard the water. Do it one more time. This is to ensure the correct bitterness needed for the recipe. Also, the rind will soften a bit. Once the sugar is added the rind doesn’t soften. This is what I learned.
Now, in a large thick bottom pan add, fruit pulp, water, sugar, ginger and the lemon juice. Place the tightly secured pouch containing pips and pith in the mixture. Lemon is needed as pectin needs acid to set in. The amount of sugar depends how you lie your before adding he r marmalade and how sweet the oranges are. mine were very sweet and I like bitter taste. Warming the sugar cuts down the frothing which you need to skim to avoid clouding the final product. 1:2 fruit sugar ratio works fine. I added a little less as I prefer more bitter taste. You can adjust.
Cook the mixture on medium heat to dissolve the sugar properly then turn up the heat and bring the mixture to rolling boil. Let it cook for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to medium – low to let the mixture simmer. Cook it for 40-50 minutes stirring every 5 minutes so that e mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or overflows. Keep skimming the froth.
Never ever press the pouch with the ladle. Let it just sit in the boiling mixture for some more time then gently remove it.
Once the liquid reduces pay more attention. You need to stop the cooking process at the right time – too early and you get a runny marmalade, too late and you get a sticky mass that won’t spread.
Do the sheet test for checking. Drop a little marmalade on the chilled plate and see if it flows or shows signs of jellying. I prefer not to wait for that stage. I like when it slowly slides when the plate is tilted. Once cool it will set nicely.
If it is too runny cook a little more if it hardens then your best bet is to boil a little water and add it to marmalade and heat a bit more till you get right texture.
Once done turn off the heat and let it become warm from hot. Stir it to distribute the peels evenly. Ladle it in clean glass or ceramic jars and close the lid tightly. My jar has vacuum tight so perfect for storing it.
So, here we have gorgeous sunny marmalade that has the perfect bitter sweet rich taste. Spread it on your morning toast as a wake up call to a bright sunny happy day.
Tip- If you want a clear marmalade you need to squeeze the peeled oranges in a jug and use the discarded pulp in the pectin pouch along with pip and pith. Use this juice with, water and shredded peels to make the marmalade. I will try to make a small batch and put up the method in a few days.
You can use other citrus fruit too. The ratio of sugar, fruit and water will differ accordingly.
Stone fruits are my first love and I have them in abundance during the season but the pip fruits, pears, apples are a different story all together. There are many varieties of pears that have hit the market this season including the sweet nashpaati, crisp nakq and gritty, sweet and juicy babugosha. i’m absolutely enjoying myself biting into the fresh ripe fleshy fruits but sometimes a few of them turn out a little bland in taste and that is when the exotic ideas of caramelized pears, stews, poached pears in red wine, jams, jellies, tarts, upside down cakes or a humble Indian spiced chutney come to mind. Do check out my other recipes for jams and jellies.
Pears are rich in dietary fibers among other things. The star of this recipe are the intense flavors of spices and the tang from lemon. As the pears were not very sweet this one has a mild sweetness of the fruit but those with robust flavors are mind blowing when used in preserves. I usually pick up the juiciest and sweetest lot.
The cinnamon and clove give it a classic flavor and the sugar gives it the desired thickness. I guess this is the time to bring Autumn into your kitchen. 🙂
Pear an Peach jams do not set like other jams if there is no additional pectin. They require a little bit more cooking time to get the right consistency.
2 Cups – Chopped, peeled Pears
4 Cups – Sugar ( depends on the sweetness of the fruit)
4-5 – Cloves / 1/2 tsp of freshly ground clove powder
1/4 inch Cinnamon stick / 1/2 tsp Freshly ground Cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Add all the ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan and boil them on low heat for an hour or so or until thick. As the mixture begins to thicken you will need to stir more frequently. Once the bubbles begin to appear stop stirring and let the foam come up. Turn the gas off and skim off any foam that may have come on the top. Put it back on stove on low heat.
Once the jam thickens to the desired consistency and the mixture looks glossy and shiny turn off the gas. If the jam coats the back of the spoon and the bottom of the pan it is done. The color will darken too. Conduct a spoon or sheet test – take some jam in a frozen spoon or chilled steel plate and slightly tilt it , if the jam stays at one place it is done. If it flows then you need to cook a bit more. Always cook jams on low heat.
You may keep the jam a bit chunky or mash the fruit with a masher while it is cooking to get a smoother jam.
You can add a 1″ piece of grated ginger if you like the taste. I do it sometime. It perks up the taste of the jam.
Let the jam come to room temperature then spoon it in clean glass jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space while filling the bottles.
Slather this golden sweetness lavishly on the bread and enjoy wit ha hot mug of coffee.
Tip – Add a little red wine to the jam if you don’t mind things getting a little tipsy. 🙂
Monsoon is here in Delhi and the last of the mangoes have flooded the market. I found vendors selling them at a very low price. The small dasheri is a delicious variety we get in North India. Sweet, fragrant, juicy and full of flesh. The pit/stone/seed inside the fruit is very thin. I prefer it to the bigger variety of dasheri. One can simply massage the fruit between palms and cut a tiny opening at the stem end the n suck the juicy flesh straight away, rolling and sqeezing it till every bit is finished. Then take out the pit and suck it clean. 😀
That’s the best way to to have mangoes.
I find it sacrilege to cook some of the fruits. They need to be consumed as fruits. Figs, leechee, mangoes are a few of them but this batch of mangoes had some very overripe ones and so I decided to make a little quantity of Jam. I don’t eat commercial bread these days but home made preserves can be used in many ways. I use them for filling, as topping or spread.
Usually I mix a few varieties while making Jam. Also, I prefer to choose a combination of overripe and fully rip but firm mangoes when making chunky version. It makes the jam rich in flavor and texture. I use no artificial pectin or preservatives.
This is the simplest way to make mango jam.
Ripe, juicy mangoes – 4 medium size
Lemon Juice – Of 1/2 a lemon
Lemon Zest – 1 teaspoon (optional)
Minced Fresh Ginger / Fresh Ginger Juice – 1 teaspoon (optional)
Sugar – According to the sweetness of the mango ( I used 2 heaped tablespoons)
Red chili Powder – 2 pinches ( optional)
Wash, peel and chop mangoes. Squeeze and gently massage the pit / seed / stone to recover all the flesh and juice.
Place a plate and spoon in the freezer for plate test later on.
In a thick bottom pan add mango pieces, sugar , lemon zest, minced ginger, red chili flakes or powder if using ( you can use cayenne pepper also, it tastes yum) and the lemon juice.
Cook these on a high flame , stirring continuously till the sugar melts.
Turn down the heat to medium low now and let the mixture simmer.
I like my jams with fruit pieces but if you prefer smooth jam you can either puree the mangoes or mash the pulp with a masher or back of the ladle.
Keep stirring the mixture as it thickens. It may take about 10 minutes or so. Test for sugar and add more if you like it sweet, I prefer to retain the natural sweetness.
As the mixture cooks it will start to leave the sides. Keep a check on the consistency as you won’t want to overcook it. The mixture at this stage should have a rich deep color an a glossy texture.
Do the plate test at this point.
Remove the pan from heat to avoid over cooking.
Drop some mixture on a chilled plate and give a slight nudge with your finger, if the mixture should give away a little but shouldn’t be runny. If that’s the case then the jam is done. I invert the plate usually to check. Mixture shouldn’t fall off.
If the mixture is runny , cook a bit more till it gets to the desired consistency.
Once the gorgeous fragrant jam is done, spoon it in clean airtight container and let it cool on the counter completely before putting it in the fridge.
I make small amounts so keep them out for daily consumption.
This jam usually stays good for at least a fortnight in the fridge.
You can spice it up with all spice or star anise or cinnamon but I prefer the natural flavor of the mango, ginger and lime.
Enjoy this dose of summer sunshine with any thing of your choice. I spooned it over a cracker and devoured it with strong black coffee.
PS – You can cut thin strips of lemon peel and add if you wish to convert the recipe to a marmalade. I love that version too but I don’t use it with very sweet fragrant mangoes.
I am sharing the quick recipes for Malta Fruit Compote and Ripe Mango compote that I used in the Orange Bread Pudding and Mango French toast. I made small quantity but you can adjust the proportions to make larger quantities and keep them in the fridge to use with various dishes esp barbecued meats and of course some desserts. 😉
Compote is a delicious fruit dessert made with whole fresh fruits or cut into pieces. Almost any fruit can be used – mangoes, orange, apple ,figs, berries, apricots, peaches etc. It is the best use of ripe seasonal fruits.
- Ripe Juicy Mangoes – 2 large
- Fresh Ginger juice – 1/4 teaspoon
- Cayenne pepper – 1/4 teaspoon ( you can use chili flakes too)
- Malta juice/ Orange Juice – 1/2 cup
- Sugar – as required (depends on sweetness of mangoes)
- Butter – 1 tablespoon ( a dollop)
- Dice mangoes into small cubes and squeeze juice from the pit too. In a bowl mix diced mangoes, malta juice, ginger juice, lime juice ( if using), sugar, cayenne pepper or chili flakes. Let the mix macerate for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat a heavy bottom pan and add the fruit mix. Let it simmer for 10 minutes on medium flame. Stir gently so that you don’t squish the fruit.
- Add butter and stir again. Simmer again for 5 more minutes then turn off the heat. Your compote is ready to use.
Every variety of mango will give a distinct flavor to the compote. Try and choose the most juicy ripe ones to minimize added sugar.
The fresh Malta fruit ( kind of blood orange from the hills of Uttrakhand in India) adds a refreshing tang to the compote along with a little lime and ginger juice. The zest of the fruits goes in the egg bath or the custard. Ginger juice, cayenne pepper enhance the flavors just right. You can replace Malta wit ha good orange.
Orange | Malta Fruit – 2-3
Zest of the citrus fruit you are using – 2 tablespoon (from 1/2 orange at least)
Fresh juice of Orange/ malta – 1/4 cup
Sugar – 1/3 Cup
Salt – Sea salt or even coarse table salt would do
Wash, dab dry and peel the Oranges / Malta. Remove the pith and seeds. Chop into small pieces.
Retain all the juice that dribbles out.
In a heavy bottom saucepan add chopped fruit, zest, sugar, salt and juice and mix.
Bring this mixture to boil on high heat and then reduce the heat.
Let it cook on medium low heat till the fruit collapses and the liquid resembles a syrup. (10-15 minutes)
Stir occasionally to avoid burning. Turn off the heat and cool the compote to room temperature.
Use it with your favorite dish or as a spread on breads.
You can use it as a topping for yogurts and ice cream too.
Spice it up with star anise, clove and cinnamon if you like.
I do not use vanilla as it masks the fruit flavors.
Sugar should be adjusted as per the sweetness of the fruit. I prefer natural sweetness over added one.
In Himachal it is called Khatta, in Uttarakhand, simply neembu. Some call it galgal (though I think galgal is tougher variety) or hill lemon. I was lucky to get some fresh lemons. It’s a sturdy fruit and stays for long. I love shikanjee made from this and pickle too. In kumaon, the local women make a dish called ‘nimbu’ with this. Made with lime, creamy yogurt, flavoured salt(pisi nud), raddish, carrot, jaggery etc. They also concentrate its juice by heating. This juice, called “chukh” in local dialect, is then stored in glass bottles and is used later in the season as souring agent and for other recipes. Lemon marmalade is to die for but I have not tried it with hill lemons.
On my recent trip to Ranikhet and nearby areas I saw a lot of trees loaded with this juicy citrus fruit and even the markets were full of them. We relished the jalzeera and shikanjee made from these khattas almost daily.
I was fortunate to get my hands on freshly plucked lemons of two sizes.
Now a traditional lemon pickle takes about 15- 30 days of sun warming to mature and I was dying to savor some fresh tangy sweet pickle and decided to use the large khatta to make an instant pickle. Pickle for me is inevitable part of a meal without which the meal seems incomplete. Be it hot aaloo paratha, khichadi or simple daal chawal, a delicious pickle can be a complete game changer.
Every household has its own unique recipe for pickling various fruits and veggies. Regional ingredients (spices) are used to give the pickle its distinctive taste.
This hill lemon pickle is my favorite though the spicy one that came from my mother in law’s village was out of the world. I am trying to procure that recipe. Lemons are usually cheaper in winter so a big batch will be made then too.
This instant pickle has a unique taste of coarsely pounded spices, sugar and lemon. It tastes delicious. It is also digestive and its taste enhances as the pickle matures. Though it doesn’t need any warming in sun, I still keep it in sun for a week. For instant consumption I take out a small quantity in a small jar / barni or glass bowl.
I must tell you that these instant fixes can not beat the traditional way of pickling and the taste differs but then when craving hits you big time you need to settle for a quickie. 😉 Boiling or microwaving also kills the Vitamin C 😦 unlike traditionally sun soaked lemon pickles.
There are a few things one must keep in mind while pickling. Everything you use should be dry and clean. Always take out a small quantity for daily use so the main jar is not opened and exposed to impurities everyday. The utensils and jars should be washed and dried properly. Moisture is the biggest culprit in ruining pickles and any lapse would cause mold to form. .Pickles are a labor of love and care even these quick ones. .
Remember how pickling used to be an annual ritual at your granny’s home? How the pickle jars were jealously guarded and only one person would handle them? The small storeroom or bhandarghar where the barnis were stored away from the praying eyes and kids who left no opportunity to steal some tangy deliciousness while the elders got busy doing stuff that elders do? 🙂 Those were the good days. The whole house and sometimes the lane too would fill with the mouthwatering aroma of freshly made achar making everyone drool. Pickle making was a community affair and women would gather to catch up with each other, harvest the fruit, blend, pound spices and mix the ingredients under the watchful eye of an old matriarch. Sigh! Those are the earliest food memories I have and the fondest ones.
Here is the tangy sweet spiced up Hill Lemon or Khatta Pickle recipe :
1 big hill lemon ( this one was about 250 gm)
4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup shakkar or jaggery powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1″ cinnamon stick
8-10 black peppercorns
2 black cardamoms ( just the seeds)
1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds (carom seeds or bishop’s weed)
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
3 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
( you can adjust the salt, sugar, spices etc according to your taste. Also, the use of jaggery is optional. Jaggery ferments quicker so I use it only for a small quantity pickle. For others I prefer sugar.)
Wash and wipe the Hill Lemon with a kitchen towel. Always prefer lemons which have no skin bruises.
Cut the lemon in small pieces and place them in a microwave proof bowl. Close the lid and microwave them for 3-6 minutes. You need to stop and check the softness of the skin in between. Alternately, you can place the whole lemon in a steaming basket and pressure cook it till three whistles. Do not overdo it or the lemon will become a pulp and also turn bitter. If using usual thin skin small lemons (kagazi neebu) reduce the time to one minute or two depending on the quality of the fruit.
Once the skin is soft to touch and breaks easily, let the lemon cool completely.
When the lemon pieces are cool, transfer them to a wide glass bowl and add, salt, chili powder, black salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida, sugar and jaggery powder (some people make a syrup and add that but I just put the shakkar as it is and give it a good mix).
Give this a good mix using clean and dry spoon.
Now pound cloves, cinnamon stick, black pepper corns, seeds of black cardamom and ajwain seeds coarsely in a mortar and pestle. You can grind them to powder too. Dry toast the mix with fenugreek and mustard seeds on low heat. Keep in mind to just slightly warm the spices or the mix will become bitter.
Add this spice mix to the lemon mixture and give it a stir. You can coarsely ground the fenugreek and mustard seeds too or use them whole like I did.
At this point you can either add two tablespoon of olive oil or smoked and cooled mustard oil or just omit the oil. The pickle won’t go bad if there is enough juice to submerge the pieces.
Once all the ingredients are mixed, taste the pickle to add anything to suit your taste. The sugar and salt will make the lemons sweat and release the juice. That’s a good sign and will make the pickle taste better and help in preservation too. As the days pass the pickle will thicken a bit.
Spoon the tangy sweet spiced up lemon pickle in a clean dry airtight jar, close the lid properly. Your instant Hill lemon pickle is ready to eat. You can keep the jar in dry summer sun for a few days to mature but it is optional.
You can add slit / diced green chili and/or ginger julienne to this pickle. Though I don’t like green chili in a sweet sour pickle. Ginger tastes great.
If kept in the fridge, the pickle stays up to three months.
Relish this lipsmackingly delicious pickle with curd rice, hot parathas, roti or just about anything.
When life gives you guavas turn them into jelly, jam, butter, cheese, juice or just eat them fresh from the basket sprinkled with some tangy chaat masala. As I always say, anything guava is good. This lovely tropical fruit is versatile and utterly delicious. It also ranks high on nutrition scale. Low in calorie, rich in Vitamin C, dietary fiber and other nutrients, the sweet fleshy ripe guavas are my favorite for more than one reason.
There are lots of childhood memories attached to this humble fruit. What fun it used to be to forage them from the trees and run for life before one was caught and then relish it in some quiet peaceful corner. Guava trees used to be in abundance when I was a kid. Almost every home with a patch of land had one in the corner. We too had a small guava tree in one of our houses and it was a joy to behold so many different birds having a feast there. The guavas were sweet and delicious too.
I make guava jelly in every season. As the fruit has high level of pectin I never add artificial pectin. The jelly sets perfectly with the natural fruit pectin. It is basically a very simple recipe and I am sure al of you can enjoy making it at home. You can adjust the measurements sugar and water according to the liquid extract of the fruit.
To make this beautiful translucent jelly you need just four things.
Guavas – Ripe but firm 1 kg
Sugar – 4 cups approx ( 3/4 cup to each cup of liquid extract)
Lemon Juice – 4 tablespoon
Water – Enough to cover the fruits
- Wash and pat dry guava fruit that is ripe but firm. Too ripe and soft fruit has low quality pectin and won’t help jelly to set perfectly. Avoid the raw ones totally. You can use a mixed bag of guavas ripened to various stages. I used the firm, ripe ones.
- Chop the fruit and put it in a large steel pan with enough water to cover the fruit.
- Turn on the heat and bring the mixture to boil on high heat then reduce the heat and let it simmer till the fruit is soft and mushy,
- Once the fruit softens take a another pan and put a strainer that sits properly on its rims. (This is optional) Cover the pan with a muslin cloth that is wrung out in water so that it absorbs very little of the precious guava liquid extract. Pour the fruit mixture slowly on the cloth or jelly bag (if using) . I do this process twice to extract maximum juice. Once the fruit is strained I put it again to boil for 5-10 min in just enough water. Ten add it to the previous extract before tying the pulp in the jelly bag or muslin cloth.
- Gather the four ends of the cloth and twist and tie a knot or tie it with a string. Hang it at a safe place and let the liquid drip and collect in the pan. DO NOT squeeze the bag or this will make the jelly cloudy. Let the liquid collect preferably overnight.
- Once you have all the strained liquid , discard the pulp or make guava cheese from it.
- Measure the liquid and add sugar and lemon juice to it. For each cup of liquid add 3/4 cup of granulated white sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir it properly and put it back on stove to boil in a heavy bottom pan. Make sure you use a large pan as the liquid will tend to over boil and spill. Always cook the liquid rapidly so there is no loss of pectin. Slow cooking destroys the pectin in the juice.
- I usually do not cook more than 4 cups at a time because the secret to flavorful and aromatic jelly is in its freshness. So, make it in small batches.
- Cook it on medium -high flame stirring constantly. Skim off the foam from the top of the liquid. By now your home will be fragrant with the intoxicating aroma of guava jelly. This is one aroma that you can not forget.
- Keep checking so that you do not overcook the jelly and turn it into a toffee. 😀 Once the liquid starts to drop off the spoon in two joined drops or coats the spoon even slightly and hangs from the spoon when inverted, turn the heat off.
- Do a plate test – Chill a steel plate beforehand in the freezer. Take it out and place a little jelly on it, if the top skin wrinkle or if you run a finger through it and the jelly takes its shape back it is done.
- Let it cool for 5 minutes and skim off all the froth and bubbles from the top before pouring it in the clean sterilized airtight jars. Always keep a cloth under the jar to prevent breakage.
- Let it cool before putting on the lids.
- Use this magnificent, delicious jelly as a spread or as a filling in cakes or just simply eat a spoonful whenever the craving hits you.
I made a sinfully delicious PBJS with homemade peanut butter and this jelly and while drooling on that realized that the treat wasn’t yet over. So, a little bit of both went into some yummy mug cakes. The jelly tastes best with fresh crisp toasts with a hot mug of coffee.
I wrote some days back about the goodness of Amla or Indian Gooseberry. The fruit is in abundance these days and I am making full use of it. I love it in pickles, juices, chutneys, jams, and add it to rice, daals, salads etc. The amla tambli, amla supari and amla candy are delicious. I will try to post the recipes as I make them.
In this post we will make a simple preserve with honey. Honey has medicinal properties and this preserve is very good for immune system among other things.
The fruits cut in small wedges absorb the goodness of organic or wild honey and taste delicious. A tonic for those suffering from anaemia. I benefited from it immensely.
Some people use sugar for the preservation but I prefer honey for obvious reasons.
To make this preserve all you need is good quality honey and Amlas.
Make sure the containers are clean and dry.
Take fresh amlas and wash them with drinking water. Pat dry and keep aside. ( you can alternately cut raw ones into wedges and dry them in the sun to get rid of the water in the fruit before using).
In a clean, dry glass jar add whole amlas or wedges. If using them whole, do remember to prick them with a fork so the honey gets absorbed.
Pour honey over Amla wedges till they are totally immersed in it. Close the top with a muslin cloth or lid and keep the jar in the sunlight for 5-7 days.
The fruit will leach water so don’t worry. Just let it bleed all the water. Amla wedges will settle at the base full of honeyed goodness.
Once that’s done, take another dry and clean bottle. Transfer the fruit minus the liquid in the new bottle and add fresh honey.
The preserve is ready to eat.
Exposure to sun ensures the longevity of the preserve.
Use the leftover thinned down honey for second batch. I just keep it in the fridge till the next use or sometimes mix it in juices smoothies etc.
If using fresh sun-dried amla, just wait till all the water dries up and then you can put it straight in the honey. No need to change twice.
Both methods work fine. Be sure to keep the preserve in hot sunlight for a few days. Keep making a new lot when the first is about to finish.
Enjoy this delicious and healthy preserve daily to reap its full goodness.
I found good quality Alma in the local market and bought a large amount to pickle, preserve and use it in other dishes including chutney. Indian gooseberry jam has just the right sweet and sour taste that I enjoy. I added three very sweet Indian red delicious kinnaur apples to the jam to reduce the amount of added sugar. All of my jams and jellies have natural fruit pectin. I avoid the commercial one. I do not use preservative either.
This is a simple recipe that stays well for a long time. I don’t add apples to this jam usually but instead of making apple jam this time I thought of combining the two with a hint of cinnamon, some fresh ginger & zest of lemon. Oh boy ! the result was simply superb. It tastes awesome with toasts, muffins etc.
Here is an easy step by step recipe for the Indian Gooseberry Jam
Indian Gooseberry (Amla) – 1/2 kg
Apples – 3 medium (optional)
Sugar – 400 gm ( depends on how sour the amla is so adjust accordingly)
Grated ginger – 1/2 teaspoon
Juice & Zest of one small lemon
Cinnamon powder – 2-3 pinches
Clove – 3-4
Water – to cook
Wash and steam the Indian gooseberry or amla till they become soft. You can boil them or pressure cook. I kept a vegetable steamer in the cooker and give 2 whistles.
Remove the fruit in a plate and allow to cool.
Separate the fruit into wedges and throw away the pits.
Wash, peel, core and chop the apples (if using).
In a heavy bottom pan add the fruits, lemon zest, grated ginger and the spices along with water. The fruit needs to be totally immersed in water. (Approx half a liter)
Cook it on medium low heat and stir frequently till the fruits break down and resembles nice chunky amla/apple sauce.
You can pass it through a sieve at this point or leave it a little chunky as i did. Just mash it properly with a vegetable masher. You can remove the cloves while mashing. I often use clove powder so that the spice is not wasted.
Stir in the sugar. The mixture will become a little watery at this point. Don’t worry and keep stirring till it comes to boiling point. Keep the heat medium.
(Be careful as the mixture boils and bubbles. Depending on the size of your pot/pan it may splash.)
Squeeze the lime juice now and stir. Keep the heat low.
Remove all the froth that floats to the top.
Cook for some more time.
Do a plate test at this stage. ( Chill a plate beforehand. Drop some jam in the center of the plate and prod gently, if the jam wrinkles on prodding it’s done. If it flows or is saucy then cook a little more. Test again till you get the right texture.
Turn off the heat and let it come to room temperature.
Keep the sterilized jars ready for canning. I simply wash the jars with hot water and dry them completely before using.
Spoon the jam in the jars and close the lids tightly. Stirlization of jars is essential if you are storing jams/jellies for a longer period.
I make small batches so avoid the process.
Always use clean dry spoon for serving.
Enjoy the Indian Gooseberry jam with hot crisp toasts, rotis (flat breads), crackers, any of the swiss or french breads.
*Adding apple is optional. The jam will need a bit more sweetness. You can add honey or more sugar. I want to make it with unrefined sugar too. I think it should work fine. Give it a try and let me know the result.
Sweetness remnds me of jam filled cup cakes I had somewhere. Have you tried making them at home?
I love apricots and the markets are flooded with these gorgeous fruit these days. Apart from making them a part of my daily fruit intake I love to make compote, preserve (click for my recipe of apricot preserve) , chutney etc from any seasonal fruit I can find in the market. Apricot chutney is delicious and a perfect condiment with cold meats, grilled meats, parathas, bread, cheese crackers, tacos etc. It sure is a great accompaniment for curries, roasts and in sandwiches.
You can even lick it off the spoon any time of the day for a tangy sweet experience. It is gluten-free, low in calorie and full of flavour plus nutrition. Packed with vitamins , fiber, this iron rich date, raisin, apricot chutney is one thing I always have in the fridge during summer. Ginger and other spices give it a burst of flavor. Overall it is a treat.
To make this lovely chutney you need
Fresh Apricots – 500 gms (washed, pitted and roughly chopped with skin)
Raisins – 1/2 cup
Dates – – 1/4 cup ( roughly chopped)
Red or White Onion – 1 Medium
Garlic – 2-3 pods ( crushed and chopped finely)
Ginger – 1/2 inch (made into juliennes) (can use glace candied ones too 1/4 cup)
Red chilli whole -1 Small
Peppercorns – 5-6 crushed or whole
White vinegar/ apple cider vinegar/ malt vinegar or lemon juice – 1/4 cup or juice of one lemon
Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala * – 1/4 teaspoon
Olive Oil – 2 tablespoon
Honey – 3 tablespoons
Sugar – 1/2 cup ( as required) ( brown or white. You can add palm jaggery or sugarcane jaggery too)
For the muslin spice infusion bag
Bay leaf – 1
Mace blade – 1
Cinnamon stick – small piece
Cloves – 3-4
All spice – 1
All spices slightly roasted and tied in the infusion bag)
Wash, dry, pit and chop Apricots. Chop dates and keep aside.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add peppercorns and red chilli. (You can remove the red chilli before spooning it in jar)
Add chopped onion and stir till translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Stir for a minute. Keep this on low flame.
Add chopped apricots, dates and raisins. Stir.
Add the dry powder masalas and salt.
Add sugar and little water (about 1/4 cup)
Add the spice infusion bag.
Bring it to boil and let it cook till the fruit becomes soft.
Keep stirring till the mixture thickens to the desired consistency.
Add honey and vinegar or lime juice. Stir constantly on medium heat so the chutney doesn’t stick to the pan.
You can taste and adjust the sweetness etc as desired.
This chutney takes about an hour to cook. You can use slow cooker also.
Once the chutney reaches its desired consistency put out the heat and let it cool till it reaches room temperature.
Remove the spice infusion bag.
Spoon the yummy chutney in sterilized air tight mason jars and refrigerate. Use of lemon juice or vinegar helps in preservation.
One can keep it for a couple of days or a few weeks in the fridge.
Fruit selection – Always use sweet-smelling fruit. It will definitely taste good.
Tips – You can get creative with this chutney and ad/ remove dry fruits. Add sultanas instead of raisins, add apple shreds or orange rings. It is an artwork in which you get to use the imagination and bring out something delicious.
*Garam Masala – I make it at home with black whole cardamom, clove, peppercorn, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. all roasted slightly and ground to a fine powder) We use very little of it as there are already whole spices infused in the chutney.