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.