Vibrant juicy fruits, which come in all shapes and sizes, certainly form an integral part of both, International and Indian cuisine, being savoured in myriad ways. Be it in the form of ripe pulp, salads, custard, fresh juices, iced teas, as well as infused into desserts like kheer, halwa, sandesh, burfi, payasam, pies, tarts, smoothies, milkshakes, ice creams and frozen yoghurt. However, these rather tasty bounties have been relished in yet another avatar as part of global culinary fare and traditional desi cooking alike since time immemorial – the thickened gelatinous fruit jam.
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Whether they are served as enticing “Aam Ka Murabba” – a yummy side prepared using luscious mangoes, jaggery at wedding ceremonies. Distributed as heavenly “Panchamirtham” - a holy prasad made from bananas, jaggery, honey, ghee, cardamom in Hindu temples after worshipping the Almighty. Or simply spread onto bread toast, dosa, chapati as readymade “Mixed Fruit Jellies” and eaten for breakfast, lunch, evening snacks. There is no doubt that fruit jams – the sticky, sugary preparations composed of a plethora of succulent produce, are truly a mouth-watering treat. And as if this were not reason enough to start making some delectable homemade conserves sans artificial flavours, chemical colours, synthetic preservatives, let us tell you that these delightful saccharine preserves are also jam-packed with vital essential nutrients (pun intended! ;)). These include vitamins, proteins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers, which supply excellent benefits for enhanced overall health.
Tempting Plus Wholesome Fruit Jam Recipes:
Go on then, harness the “Pro Chef” in you, don on your aprons and prepare these lip-smacking, nourishing recipes of Mixed Berry Jam and Pineapple Marmalade, which will leave the kids and adults in your household asking for more!
The secret to a perfectly thick gluey jam is the pectin content present in them. Pectin, a polysaccharide compound, is an insoluble fiber that naturally occurs in a plethora of fruits and vegetables.
While heating fruits in water to prepare a jam, the pectin is released and becomes a gel, working as a thickening agent for jellies and preserves. Hence, the longer the heating time, the more pectin is emitted and thicker will be the fruit jam. However, very long cooking times tend to diminish the yummy flavour of the fruits and some fruits with high water content do not possess as much pectin intrinsically.
Thus, pectin powder can be added in such instances, in measured quantities, to induce a thick texture to fruit jams. Else, smooth and more fluid jams can be made with solely organic ingredients, as a pectin-free version.
Mixed Berry Jam
This one is for all you health-conscious sweet tooths out there. Obviously, you are not a fan of the characteristic sour taste of crisp berries such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, but still want to obtain the abundant nutrients from these fresh fruits. Well then, simply heat them in a sugary syrup base and whip up this decadent mixed berry jam.
2 cups strawberries
2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
2 cups blackberries
3 cups sugar
5 tsp pectin powder
½ cup lemon juice
Wash the berries in lukewarm water and put them in a large bowl.
Pour in the sugar, pectin powder, mix well and let it stay for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Transfer the berries – sugar – pectin mixture to a saucepan, add the lemon juice and heat it on medium flame so that it begins to boil mildly.
Stir this blend continuously to avoid the formation of lumps and foam for 20 minutes, until the jam becomes thick in consistency.
Turn off the stovetop, transfer the hot jam into clean glass jars and close them with a tight lid.
Dip the glass jars in a hot water bath for another 10 minutes, to allow the viscous texture of the jam to set in.
Store this scrumptious mixed berry jam in sealed glass jars in the fridge to retain the freshness for up to 1 month and enjoy it as a topping on bread toast, dosa, waffles, chapati and pancakes.
Strawberries possess vast reserves of vitamin C, the ultimate key antioxidant component to boost immunity and shield the body from seasonal infections of cough, cold, fever, as well as chronic disorders like diabetes, hypertension, cancer. Bestowed with vitamin B6 and neuroprotective antioxidants, blueberries are a superfood for improved brainpower, memory, concentration and prevent degenerative conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Raspberries are a storehouse of manganese and vitamin K, which play a crucial role in blood clotting processes to accelerate wound healing in injured bodily tissues. Imbued with ample calcium, magnesium content, blackberries bolster bone strength and preserve tough, flexible joints. In addition, berries comprise profuse amounts of anthocyanin antioxidants, which prevent cardiovascular disease and augment heart wellness. Lemon juice is a natural detoxifying element, which cleanses the blood, gut, liver, kidneys of impurities, toxins, food wastes, to uplift metabolism and digestion.
If you love the flavourful juicy taste of pineapples but often encounter those annoying itching sensations in your mouth and tongue after biting into finely cut slices of the ripe fruit, pay attention. All you need to do is extract the juice from fresh pineapples, boil it along with jaggery and some aromatic condiments and voila, you have rustled up an appetizing pineapple marmalade.
3 large pineapples, peeled and sliced
2 cups jaggery powder
4 elaichi pods, peeled and finely crushed
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Few saffron strands
Pulse the pineapple slices in a blender, to derive the fruit juice, adding sufficient amount of water.
Filter this liquid using a clean sieve, to remove the hard fragments and store the fresh juice in a clean bowl.
In a non-stick pan, heat the pineapple juice along with jaggery powder and a bit of water for 20 – 30 minutes on medium flame, stirring constantly to prevent the formation of foam and lumps.
Once the jam begins to solidify, lower the flame, put in crushed elaichi, cinnamon powder, saffron strands, mix well for 2 minutes and switch off the stove.
Let the hot jelly cool down completely, then store it in clean air-tight glass containers in a cool environment for 1 month, to preserve the natural fragrance and fresh taste.
Savour this yummy pineapple marmalade either spread on sandwiches, pooris, parathas, crepes, uthappams or as an icing on milk sweets, desi mithai, pastry cakes and ice creams.
Pineapples are overflowing with beneficial nutrients including B vitamins, polyphenol antioxidants and proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which aid in uplifted growth, metabolism, lower the risk of chronic ailments like diabetes, cancer and facilitate smooth digestion processes, respectively. Jaggery is blessed with copious concentrations of iron, a pivotal mineral for healthy blood circulation and averting deficiency conditions of anaemia, fatigue. A natural aphrodisiac, elaichi remarkably boosts sex drive or libido in both men and women, for optimal sexual wellness. Cinnamon powder is laden with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory constituents, which remedy cough, cold sore throat and ease joint pain in arthritis. The vivid orange hued saffron filaments comprise ample amounts of vitamin A, to promote healthy eyesight.