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. ūüôā

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 РCloves / 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 Рtake 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. ¬† ūüôā

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. ūüėÄ

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.

 

 

 

Homemade Guava Jelly – Recipe


Guava Jelly

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.

Ingredients :

Guavas – Ripe but firm 1 kg

Sugar Р 4 cups approx ( 3/4 cup to each cup of liquid extract)

Lemon Juice – 4 tablespoon

Water – Enough to cover the fruits

Method :

  1. 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.
  2. Chop the fruit and put it in a large steel pan with enough water to cover the fruit.
  3. 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,
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Once you have all the strained liquid , discard the pulp or make guava cheese from it.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Keep checking so that you do not overcook the jelly and turn it into a toffee. ūüėÄ 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Let it cool before putting on the lids.
  14. 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.

 

 

 

Five grain biscuits with guava jelly

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.

Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sundried Indian Gooseberry Supari|Candy


Sundried sweet amla candy and the salted tangy amla supari are very good methods of preserving the fruit. These can then be used as mouth fresheners and appetizers. Every year ma used to make them in winter and all through the year we would munch on them. I learned from her and began making my own version.

I know I am going overboard with amla recipes but then this fruit deserves such attention. A potent source of Vitamin C ,it helps our body’s immune system, digestive system and is good whichever way you eat it. In Ayurveda Amla is used to make many preparations including the well known chyawanprash. This bright green translucent fruit is full of other nutrients too. You can Google to look them up.

Beginning from October fresh amla is easily available in markets. This is the time to eat it raw in chutney, or with salt. You can add it to many dishes ( daal, rice, tamdi, veggies, salads, juices, squash etc) or make a jam or pickle it, make a preserve in honey. Even make candy or salted mouthfreshener or mukhwas, like we will make today. ¬†My son thinks I am obssesed with it. Maybe I am, it is a key to good health and helps to detox the body among other things. ūüėÄ

To make the Amla mukhwas/supari/appetizer take fresh unblemished fruit when it is in season. Wash it properly and pat dry. Now grate the fruit and keep aside.

In a plate mix rock salt, table salt, ajwain (carrom seeds),  asafoitida and mix properly. Add this to the grated amla along with little ginger juice and lemon juice. (250 gm grated amla, 1 inch ginger juice, 1 tablespoon carom seeds, juiceof 1/2 a lemon, 1 teaspoon teaspoon table salt, 1 teaspoon rock salt (leveled).

 

Keep this in sunlight for 5-6 days. The drying time will depend on the amount of sunlight and heat it gets. Once the grated fruit changes colour , shuffle it so that it is properly dried.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The wedges you see is the Amla candy which is sweet. I will give a quick recipe for that too at the end of this post.

After 6 days the tangy amla mothfreshener/ appetizer/supari is ready to eat.

You can eat it in this shredded form or make small  size balls. I prefer it like this.

Amla Supari (mouthfreshener)

 

The darker ones are from last winter.

It is a unique experience to have a taste tangy supari and then the sweetness  that lingers in your mouth if you drink water just after having it.  It is a good digestive aid too. They are so easy to make I have now stopped buying them. Do try.

Exif_JPEG_420

Amla Candy (Sweet)

This sweet dry Amla Candy is highly addictive and I eat 5-6 at a tme daily. This one in the pic is gifted by someone. I still have to make the candy for this season but it closely looks the same as the recipe is the same. To make this tongue tickling candy you will need 1/2 kg Indian Gooseberry, 100 gm Rock candy or mishri Or granulated sugar. (Rock candy is better than sugar for health reasons but these were made with granular sugar), 1 teaspoon Ginger juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Boil/ steam the Amla and separate the wedges. Throw the seed. Dry these wedges for some hours in the sun so that all the water evaporates.

In an air tight bottle place these wedges of amla, add ginger and lemon juice, stir and add the sugar on top. (If using rock candy or misri , crush the misri and add the powder on top of the amla wedges). Tightly close the lid and keep the bottle in sun for a few days till the wedges settle at the bottom.  You will notice that once the sugar  melts it has turned into a syrup. Open and stir the mixture with a clean dry spoon so that the sugar is properly dissolved. In 5-6 days of good sunlight they will soak up all the sugar. ( we did it with the Amla Honey preserve too )

Once the wedges have settled at the bottom open the lid and strain the wedges in a bowl. Use the syrup to make amla sorbet.

Now let the amla wedges stay in the strainer till all the water is drained from them.

Take them out in a thali/ plate and dry them completly in the sun. Dry them completely.

Once they are  dry, chewy and brown in colour, rub in some powdered sugar or powdered rock candy (misri). Let them dry some more in the heat of the sun.

Your amla candy is ready to eat. Store in an airtight container and enjoy the goodness of amla all through the year.

You can make it chatpata or tangy by adding roasted cumin powder, rock salt, fennel powder etc. It will have a darker brown colour..

If the fruit is dried properly it will stay for a long time.

Enjoy them and do let me know if you make these.

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Gooseberry | Amla Preserve In Honey


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.

Method :

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.

Two Delicious Preserves With Apricots And Plums


Exif_JPEG_420

 

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 РChill 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. ūüôā

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 Karonda (natal fruit) Jam Recipe


Karonda Pickle Recipe Here.

Karonda is an exotic fruit which grows wild in bushes in India it is part of the family carrisa and its botanical name is carrisa carandas. It is a beautiful ivory color fruit with deep blush of red and pink on it. It has medicinal properties and can be made in to preserves, syrups etc. In north India it is also made into pickle. It tastes very sour and there are different colored karondas available from purple to deep red in India. We commonly get the Ivory ones in summer and make jam from them. Here is my recipe for karonda jam.

Karonda Jam 

Ingredients :

1/2 kg Karonda ( fruit should not be damaged or spotted)

1 kg. sugar

4 cups water

 Method :

Wash Karonda fruit properly and cut them in halves.

Take out the pits(seeds) and place the fruit in water.(throw this water as it will be extremely sour)

Heat a heavy bottom pan and boil the fruit in new water .

The moment fruit becomes tender add sugar and keep stirring.

Some people sieve the fruit after boiling and then add sugar but I love the pieces of fruit in the jam . For those who like smooth jams the tender fruit can be passed through a sieve so a pulp is obtained.

Stir constantly till sugar dissolves and the pulp thicken.

I forgot to mention some details so here is an

Added note from a comment by reader:

“While making jam with or without sieving, how much time to cook after adding sugar is critical. ‚Äúek tar‚Äô is grandmas wisdom. When the sugar thickens enough so that dipping your finger in the liquid and separating them leaves one ‚Äėstring‚Äô attached to your fingers, it is done. More cooking than that will caramelize the sugar. The western wisdom is to freeze a plate in the fridge. Drop a bit of the jam liquid in it and pull a finger through it when you feel the jam is thick enough. If the finger leaves a gap in the syrup, the jam is cooked enough. If not, you can cook a little more.”

Remove from flame and cool.

Once cool spoon it in a glass bottle.

The karonda fruit is full of vitamin C and is rich source of iron and that makes it good for those suffering from anemia.

Do try the recipe and enjoy this wonderful jam.