Easy Mango Jam (No Preservatives Or Added Pectin)


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.

Ingredients :

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)

Steps –

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.

 

 

 

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.

Homemade Apple Jam


Winter is usually the time to make all these delicious things, peanut butter, jams, jellies, pies , carrot and pumpkin Halwas etc. It is that time of the year when the markets are full of colorful veggies especially the leafy greens and delicious apples, raspberries, guavas and strawberries.

Homemade apple jam with a dash of cinnamon or clove is something I love. It is easy to make and tastes somewhat like the apple pie filling. I keep changing the spices I add to it. Clove and  black peppercorn taste the best but you can go with a dash of apple pie spice mix or keep it plain and simple. I prefer the natural fruit pectin to do the trick so never add artificial pectin. As for sugar, if you choose sweet, juicy apples you will need very little sugar.

 

Ingredients :

Red Delicious Apples –  1/2 Kg.

Sugar – 1Cup

Lemon Juice – 4 Tablespoon (1 big size lemon is good)

Warm Water – Enough to submerge the apple

Cloves – 3

Black pepper corns – 4

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Method

1. Wash, peel, core and cut apples in small cubes.  (You can grate them too)

2. Take a heavy bottom pan and put chopped apple in it. Pour just enough water to submerge the apples.

3. Add cloves.

4.  Keep the pot on high flame to bring the water to boil and then lower the flame.

5. Keep stirring till apples soften.

6. Remove any foam that forms on top of the mixture.

6.  Add sugar once the apples becomes soft. Mash them to get a smooth texture. You can keep the chunks too. I sometimes prefer the chunky jam.

7.  Add lemon juice at this point

8. Keep the flame low and stir continuously so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

9.  Cook it till the mixture passes the “setting test” .

 The test to check if the jam is ready

Take a clean glass plate and put a spoonful of jam on it. If the mixture runs on tilting the plate , it is not done but if sticks to the plate and glides slowly then its ready to cool. After cooling it will thicken more. If it seems too thick then add a little water and continue to simmer till it passes the test, if it’s runny the simmer for some more time and then remove for cooling. 

10. Cool the mixture and slowly spoon it into sterilized jar. Do try this simple and delicious apple jam without all of the preservatives and additives you find in the store bought items.

Happy Eating !