Friday, 13 December 2013

Sunny jam from mango, pineapple, lime and star anise

My duties back when I was working in Betlehem weren't terribly pleasant. Betlehem itself didn't make much of an impression on me either. But the mangos the vendors around Checkpoint 300 sold were nothing short of phenomenal. So juicy; so unbelievably sweet! Even their Indian counterparts had nothing on them and in India they take that fruit so seriously I once actually visited a mango exhibition. Here's a tip that will help one of us save the air fare: they all look the same

Since then I haven't come across mangos that would come anywhere close. So, when the craving hits, the frozen cubes are often the best bet. Those were what I used this time as well and came up with this tropical jam. With pineapple. And lime. Star anise gives the jam wonderful, liquorice-like pepperiness and continuing cooking after pureing it gives it lovely toastiness which, together with lime and star anise, makes sure the final product isn't as sickly sweet as you might fear. Carrots would work in this too, though you'd have to steam them before you get cracking with jamming. Instead of star anise you could also use vanilla or ginger - or both! Feel free to get your own creative juices flowing too!

In case you're a jam-making novice, this is a great time to learn the trade - packed in beautiful jars with hand-made labels these make pretty and unique foodie gifts! That on the other hand is a great way to recycle those glass jars that any sun dried tomato-, piquillo pepper-, exotic honey- loving, deli-scouring foodie is bound to have no shortage of. For everything you need to know about jam-making, please see here.

This makes about 8-9 dl of jam

900 g mango cubes (the fruit from about 3 large mangos)
600 g pineapple (that's the content of about 1 large fruit)
750 g jamming sugar
the juice and zest of 1 lime
5 star anise

Measure the ingredients in a pan. Bring to boil and let simmer under a lid for a bout 15 minutes. Remove star anises and blend (in batches if needed) carefully as this is hot. Then pour back into the pan and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes. Keep stirring as you probably have better things to do with your time than scrape burnt bits off the bottom of your pan... Pour into clean jars while still hot, close and let the jars cool in the room temperature before storing them in cold.

And in case you find jams are right up your alley, you might want to try insanely easy and wonderfully toffee-like oven-baked apple jam with ginger and vanilla. If you're into cheeses, vanilla and rosemary infused damson jam just might be for you!




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