What is the worst kind of jam?

oh hot damnIt seems as though we’ve fallen into Summer weather again with today’s muggy soup. This makes me long for summer fruits like mango and papaya. I bought a TON of each over the summer, when they were in season. Not in season in CT, of course, so unfortunately they weren’t locally grown, but alas. I adore mango too much to pass up. It is probably one of my all time favorite fruits.

At the time of purchase, I couldn’t recall if I liked papaya or not. So, I bought 2 (they were on sale) as an experiment. Turns out…papaya is not my favorite fruit. I ate some, but I just couldn’t do it. It was sweet, but had a bit of a bitter bite. Maybe my papaya just wasn’t ripe enough. Maybe my palate just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe because it isn’t grown locally, it wasn’t quite right. Whatever the reason, I didn’t want to eat the fruit as it was and I racked my brain with what I could do so it wouldn’t go to waste.100_1824

I’ve been on a canning kick lately. We made plum jam, plum jelly, and sweet pickles. So, I turned to jam. Technically, jam is a thick mixture of diced fruit (usually with the skin), pectin, and sugar that is boiled gently but quickly. This makes the fruit soft, but keeps it’s general shape and creates a spread that is thick enough to spread easily, but still holds its shape. It has chunks and texture and makes your eating experience exciting. Jams are handy for making fillings for pies, tarts, etc., as well as spreading on toast or pancakes or whatever you can dream up.

Jellies, on the other hand, are made from sugar, pectin, acid, and fruit juice and is a clear spread that is firm enough to hold its shape. It’s smooth, it’s sweet, it’s classic. Toast and jelly. Peanut butter and jelly. You can’t go wrong.

I wanted all of the fruit to be in what I made, so I opted for Jam. I peeled the skin from the papaya, threw everything into a pot, and boiled away. It was fun, it came out a beautiful yellow orange color, and tastes great. For whatever reason, my first batch didn’t set properly, so it’s a very thick syrup. This is great over ice cream. But, my second batch, which I did exactly the same but on a different day, came out perfect and is delicious over toast. Jams and jellies can be finicky. Don’t give up! Just keep trying.

If you find yourself with an excess of papayas, keep this recipe in mind.

And yes, I do realize that it has a fair amount of sugar in it. I balked at that, too. However, I would like to point out that this is a MODEST amount of sugar. Most recipes call for upwards of 5 cups. I guess that’s why jams and jellies are such a treat. And why you only spread a little bit over your toast or other jam vehicle. This will have to do until I can come up with a viable alternative.

Spiced Papaya Mango Jam
adapted from mydiversekitchen.com

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Ingredients:

5 cups diced papaya, peeled and seeds removed
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup diced mango
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1 package Certo

Method:

  1. Prepare your canning jars by cleaning and sterilizing both the jars and the tops. Make sure they are completely dry before you fill them with your jam. Set aside until you are ready to use them.100_1828
  2. Prepare a large pot, filled with water, for processing the canned jam. This can be done in a large lobster pot, or something similar. Keep the water warm. When processing time comes, it must be boiling.
  3. Now, to make the jam: In a deep and heavy bottomed pan, put the papaya, mango, sugar, salt, and chili flakes and bring to a boil. The boil must be continuous. This means that it continues to bubble despite stirring. I would also caution that you use a wooden spoon at this point. Anything plastic will melt because the mixture gets so hot.  Also be aware of splash back. It stings a bit.
  4. Once a rolling boil is reached, turn down the heat, and let the papaya mixture thicken while stirring, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in one package of Certo. Stir for 5 minutes.
  6. Fill each of the clean jars with a portion of jam. My rule of thumb it to go until it is an inch to an inch and a half from the top of the jar.
  7. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, and place on the tops. Twist tightly to close. 100_1831100_1833
  8. Carefully place each lidded jar into the prepared water bath. Process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.100_1835
  9. Remove the jars from the water bath and allow to cool. After 24 hours, press the lids on each jar to check that the jars have sealed. This means that the lid should NOT flex up and down when it is pressed.
  10. Enjoy on toast, ice cream, biscuits, or whatever else you can dream up.

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