Recipe – Jamun / Wild Indian Java Plum Compote


As children we used to forage Jamuns. We climbed trees, grazed our knees to shake the fruit laden branches. Greedily picking the fruit off the ground and savored them with utmost delight. It feel like some other time and space. Back then they tasted sweeter, left our fingers, tongues and clothes, streets, pavements painted purple. On summer afternoons a vendor would roam around singing in a melodious tone, “Jamun kale kale mujhse bhi zyada kaale” and we would rush to surround him with 20-30 Paisa to buy the treat. Fleshy fruits right from the trees sprinkled with salt or masala. Who cared about washing them. They went straight into the mouth. We weren’t so paranoid about hygiene then I guess. The fruit has immense health benefits but that you can Google.

There are few jamun trees left to forage now. Monsoon is the time to devour the fresh juicy fruits. I got a large quantity and made some compote. The vendors sell it for a high price. I bought these for 200/- kg but they are absolutely delicious. Ripe, fleshy with the perfect sweet astringent taste.

Jamun or java plum is a drupe not a berry as some think. Rai Jamun or the ashadiya variety is Syzigium nervosum and the other round bhadainya variety is Syzigium cumini. Both belong to Myrtaceae family.

Homemade compote, jams, jelly, conserves or preserves are something you can so easily make at home. No artificial preservatives, chemicals and the sugar can be added keeping in mind the sweetness of the fruit. I prefer to use sweeter fruits so less sugar is used. Here I used organic brown sugar. There’s also little ginger for that zingy kick. I love adding it to some of the spreads. You can serve this with panacota, use it in cake toppings, with yogurt, mousse, cheese cake or as a spread on bread.

Note – Always choose unblemished, ripe, juicy, pulpy dark fruit. Those with hard texture are semi or under ripe.


To make the compote you need –

Ingredients :

250 gm – Jamun / Java Plum

3 tablespoon – Sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)

1/2 tsp – Finely Grated Ginger plus juice (optional)

1/2 tsp – Lemon Juice

Method –

Wash and wipe the fruit properly.

In a glass bowl place the fruit and add sugar to it. Mix thoroughly so that the fruits are coated with sugar properly. Leave them to macerate for about 30-40 minutes. I use less sugar so that the sweetness of fruit remains intact. I don’t like very sugary spreads.

With clean hands gently rub and mash the fruit to separate the pulp and pits. Discard pits. The fruit will release juices and the process makes it easier to remove pits with minimum to none pulp wastage. Maceration changes the texture of fruit and absorption of flavors is more.

In a heavy bottom pan add the juice, sugary fruit pulp, ginger & juice and cook it on medium heat stirring continuously. Let it simmer for a while and then add lemon juice. I prefer the fruit to remain chunky. Bring the mixture to boil.

Remove froth from top if any and turn off the heat.

Bring it room temperature and it is ready to serve. You can store in in clean glass jar for up to 7-10 days at room temperature or in fridge.

Do let me know if you make the compote. Say no commercial sugar and chemical laden preserves etc. It really takes very little to make your things and they are delicious and healthy.

Homemade Spiced Pear Jam (Without Pectin)


 

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.

Ingredients : 

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

Steps: 

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.   🙂

Two Delicious Preserves With Apricots And Plums


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After almost ten days of  being sick and stressed I finally managed to pick myself up and get going. Nothing is more therapeutic than cooking/backing something and as summer fruits are in abundance I picked up two of my favorites to indulge in and make preserves.  I find the market products too sweet. I love my preserves a little tart and flavorful. So I picked up fruits which were firm and tart and yet had those delicate flavours.  Some people may find a boiling pot of sugar and fruits a little too much on a hot summer noon but the aroma and the colors of summer captured in a nicely bottled preserve can cheer you up any time.

I have a weakness for apricots and once they cook, the luscious fruit tuns the color of golden summer sun and tastes fantastic. A little hard, a little bruised apricots would do too for this recipe. They need not be perfect. I use a mix of firm and soft ripe fruit to bring out the sweet and tangy flavours.

As for plums , I decided to do a cross between jam and preserve and kept the skin on the fruits. Again picked up some firm and soft mix fruit as I prefer the tart flavour. Discarded the pits for both fruits though some people crack them open and use the kernel. I don’t.

Washed fresh Apricots and Plums

Washed fresh Apricots and Plums

 

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Recipe for Apricot Preserve :

 

Ingredients :

1/2 Kg – Apricots

1 Cup Granulated Sugar (depends on sweetness of the fruits and your liking)

1/2 Cup Water

Juice of lemon – Two table-spoon

Method :

Wash the fruit carefully and rip it open in two halves. Discard the stone.

Take a bowl and place the halves in it.

Add the sugar and mix it well so that it coats the fruit completely .

Keep it covered for an hour or till the sugar dissolve a bit.

Keep a heavy bottom pan on medium flame and add the fruit mixture to it.

Add a little water to cover the fruit and bring it to boil.

Let it boil for one minute on high flame .

Keep stirring so that the mixture doesn’t burn.

Lower the flame and remove any froth or scum that forms on the top.

When the fruit starts to fall apart add juice of lemon.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens.

Take a set test – Chill a plate in the freezer. Once you think the mixture is thick enough for the preserve consistency drop a teaspoonful on the chilled plate and place it back in the freezer. After a few minutes take it out and check , if a crinkly skin forms on THE preserve when pushed it is done otherwise boil it for another five minutes and text again.

Once done, let it cool to room temperature and then fill it in the jar. Make sure to stir it so that no air gaps are formed.
Seal it when still warm and label it when cooled.

Enjoy this delicious preserve on bagels, toasts, biscuits, parfait or just lick it from the spoon. 🙂

Plum and Apricot Preserve

Plum and Apricot Preserve

Plum Preserve Recipe :

Ingredients :

1/2 Kg Red Plums

1 Cup Granulated Sugar ( according to the sweetness of fruit and your liking)

Lemon zest – 1/2 teaspoon

Lemon Juice – 1 Table spoon

Cinnamon – 1/4 inch stick

Water – 1/2 cup ( just enough to cover the fruit)

Method :

Wash and wipe the plums.
Split them in halves and discard the stone.
Keep the skin on.
In a deep bowl layer fruit and sugar so that the plums are entirely covered.
Keep the fruit for an hour or till the sugar dissolves a bit.
Take a heavy bottom pan and pour the content into the pan along with cinnamon stick and lemon zest.
Stir it on medium flame and bring it to boil.
Let it boil on high flame for a minute or two. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
Lower the flame and let it simmer.
When the fruit softens a bit add lemon juice and remove any scum that forms on the top.
Let the mixture thicken and then do the set test as described in previous recipe.
Once the preserve sets to the right consistency remove it from heat and let it cool at room temperature.
Remove the cinnamon stick and bottle it while still warm.
Label when cool.

Use it on toasts, bagels, biscuits, parfait or in any way you like.

Hope you like these simple recipes. Do let me know your experience  if you make them.