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 –
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
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.