10 Mar2007

jam1

This is attempt number one. It tastes very good. But it is not the jam I was striving for yet. Will keep at it. Inspired by the cover story on Food magazine by Chef Chris Bautista on jams, and a recent discovery that we may have several jam2bijillions of mangoes on a distant (two hours by foot, no roads) Cebu property that we have never known about to this day, I have been somewhat determined to figure out a decent Mango Jam recipe. First of all, I have never really had a “good” mango jam, in my opinion, so I am making up my own definition of “good.” What I am seeking is a jam that is distinctly mango in taste…the flavor is clearly there. I want to see that it is made up of mango chunks or at least pieces of fruit, yet I want it to be jam-like in consistency and if possible, not overly sweet. I do not want it to be a very slow and long-cooked preserve that is dark and unappetizing looking and spread like (almost peanut buttery is how I would describe grocery jams)… And I want folks who taste it to instantly think, “hmmm, what IS this and why have I never had anything like this before…” A tall order, I agree.

It is my personal opinion that despite the abundance of mangoes in this country, there are very few examples of good mango jam commercially for sale, and it is a result of several factors: 1. Mangoes are actually very expensive so cooking them down into a jam results in a jam3very pricey final product, ergo, folks won’t make it thinking no one will buy it at nosebleed price tags, 2. Mangoes are extremely soft and have a high water content, therefore they break down easily when cooked and turn into a mush rather easily… in the same manner that apple butter or apple sauce no longer resembles fresh apples, 3. Many folks refuse to use peak quality mangoes but rather use the bruised, abused and past their prime fruits, which directly results in a jam that tastes bruised, abused and past its prime, 4. Mangoes don’t naturally have much pectin, so one has to add pectin to get that “jelling” of the jam and pectin isn’t so readily available at your corner sari-sari store 5. Folks no longer make their jams from scratch, period…

So I started my mango jam quest by trying the simplest of recipes gleaned from the Ball Jar instructions for jam, my Certo pectin package instructions for jam and some tips from Chris. I peeled enough ripe mangoes for about 1 kilo of cubed mango. I added 1 kilo of sugar and put this in a Le Creuset enameled pot. I guess I could have waited several hours to extract liquids from the mango cubes but I was in a rush so I didn’t. I turned the heat on and waited for the sugar to melt and the mixture to bubble and boil. I skimmed off the foam and a few minute later, added the pectin mixture and returned the mixture to a boil. I then bottled and boiled the bottles for 10 more minutes and let this all cool. After a few hours, I stuck the cooled jars in the fridge, though these could have been left out.

After a few days, I opened the smallest jar and tasted the jam. It was good. Very mango-ey and still with distinct cubes of mango. However, I found it to be just too sweet. jam4A lot less sugar would have worked but then I am not sure if the consistency would be affected. I also found that my jam was more of a preserve or mango cubes in a sugar syrup, kind of like peaches in sugared syrup. After a few days, the consistency seemed more jam like but I think I definitely have to cook this longer on the next attempt. The color was superb, the flavor good, the sweetness too cloying but I can see this working on a cheesecake or some other dessert. For now, on top of nice toast, with some cream cheese, the jam is still pretty darn good!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. catalina says:

    Homemade mango jam is my No. 1 pasalubong to kids and family in the US. Like you, I use equal amounts of mango (not over-ripe ones) and sugar. For every 4 cups of mango I add juice of 1 lemon (instead of pectin)and a tablespoon of butter (to reduce foaming). I cook at a rolling boil, stirring with a wooden spoon, 15 to 20 minutes, skimming off any foam as it forms. Finally, off the heat, I stir in another tablespoon of butter to eliminate last traces of foam.

    Mar 10, 2007 | 2:40 pm

     
  2. Cumin says:

    Perfect timing, MM. The stock of homemade pineapple-dalandan jam is running out, and I was thinking of making jam from the fruit in season: mango. Like you, I used to make jam from equal amounts of fruit and sugar, but found it too sweet — I want to taste the fruit, not the sugar. 2/3 sugar is more like it. I’ve never tried using pectin (not even sure where to find it!) and once I used a spoonful of unflavoured gelatin to improve the consistency. Catalina’s recipe sounds interesting so I might try that, too. Maraming salamat!

    Mar 10, 2007 | 7:43 pm

     
  3. sister says:

    Blitz the mangoes in your processor just until you have small chunks and some puree, about5 seconds. For every 4 cups of mango, add 6 1/2 c. white sugar and 1/4 c. of lemon or calamansi juice. Let stand one hour. Bring to a rapid boil, skim aggressively , add 1 packet Certo pectin and boil 2 more minutes. Pour into sterile jars, cover, turn upside down for one hour. Allow to rest for several days before opening. Try it this way, sounds very sweet but you need this proportion for jelling. Powdered Certo is also available at bakery supply houses. For better consistency use 2 kinds of mangoes, one more fibrous than the other. All eating mangoes like the Cebu mangoes will yield jelly instead of jam. I’ll make some in May and save it for you, kind of like bringing coals to Newcastle…

    Mar 10, 2007 | 10:13 pm

     
  4. mandy says:

    MM, definitely good with cheesecake. i had that mango cheesecake at cafe francais here in paranaque. really good. :)

    Mar 10, 2007 | 10:15 pm

     
  5. Chris says:

    Congratulations on your first try MM. I grew up eating mango jam with a very thick consistency. No mango chunks at all but still very different from the commercial variety. Although it was all mashed up, you get a sense that what you’re eating is a concentrated essence of mango. =) ok that’s alittle bit of an exaggeration but I do remember our family cook making it in our dirty kitchen- all he used were mangoes, sugar and citric acid, which has the same effect on jams as pectin. (you can even use citrus juice as pectin replacement if you can’t find it in the grocery). He cooked the jam for a very long time until a lot of the moisture has evaporated…

    But I do get what you are trying to achieve here. It would be nice to have little chunks so you get random explosions of pure mango flavor. Hmm, let’s see, picking up from your sister’s suggestions, I agree it would be a good idea to have some of the mango pureed so you don’t get mango chunks in syrup. If the sweetness is cloying, maybe you can also try using slightly under ripe mango for the chunks so it will have a good amount of acidity from within that will hopefully provide some balance, and it may also yield a better texture because it is firmer to start with. This is just an idea that popped in my head right now. I hope it helps.

    Thanks for reading Food and my article.

    Mar 11, 2007 | 1:40 am

     
  6. Chris says:

    BTW the topmost photo looks great! Perfectly browned toast with butter and the glistening mango chunks… I can almost taste it.

    Mar 11, 2007 | 1:44 am

     
  7. Maria Clara says:

    Looks visually perfect jam to me with transparent mango chunks, spells to me. Let it mature in your pantry for four more weeks for flavor and texture and see how it comes up before you embark on your next mango jam mission. Both Chris’ and Sister’s suggestions sound like a bright idea to lug on your next voyage. It must utterly good on toast with cream cheese and butter!

    Mar 11, 2007 | 3:48 am

     
  8. Maria Clara says:

    And Catalina’s recipe too sounds ultimately good.

    Mar 11, 2007 | 3:51 am

     
  9. Maria Clara says:

    I have the book of Kate Zuckerman The Sweet Life – Desserts from Chanterelle on page 196 she discussed the pectin’s jelling power “. . . . The pectin holds the remaining water molecules. Water holding pectin molecules, however, in most fruit-sugar solutions have a negative electrical charge and they are not attracted to each other. Acidic conditions (the addition of lemon juice or tartaric or citric acid) reduce the electrical charge and encourage the pectin molecule to join, encapsulating the water molecules and thus properly setting the jelly.”

    Mar 11, 2007 | 4:07 am

     
  10. wil-b cariaga says:

    hmmm. . . you really need lots of mango to make a jam, 3 kilos wont make a good size jar. . . i had made mango jams before and it is really really good, i even mixed mango with strawberry and kiwi and it turned out good also. i don’t know how you really like your jam, MM, but i hate jams with jelly consistency, its supposed to be called fruit jelly, the jam you made seems to look and taste good. . .

    Mar 11, 2007 | 5:50 am

     
  11. joey says:

    My grandmother has always made mango jam from scratch…now my dad makes it and so do I. I use less sugar than mangoes (going weight-wise as you do here) precisely because it gets too sweet and I never have trouble with it gel-i-fying (and I don’t use pectin because I don’t have any). We don’t even let it macerate before hand. Just stick everything in a pot and keep stirring until it becomes jam :) We don’t get as big a chunk as yours does though…I’d like to try it that way next time. I just scoop out the mango with a spoon :) Love this jam…truly one of my favorites!

    Mar 11, 2007 | 10:34 pm

     
  12. Sandra Espinosa says:

    Instead of adding lemon, why don’t you try a squeeze of lime juice which adds a wonderful tartness to the recipe. I started using lime juice with my strawberry and raspberry jams and people who try it know there is something different and delicious but they just can’t figure out what it is.

    Also, I would try mangoes that aren’t too ripe for the jam recipe. They will hold their shape better and will withstand a good deal more boiling than ripe ones.

    Jun 4, 2007 | 5:27 pm

     
  13. Marketman says:

    Sandra, yes, thanks for those suggestions. I did try using less ripe mangoes with good results, see the post here on version two of this mango jam…

    Jun 4, 2007 | 6:22 pm

     
  14. Bob Mettler says:

    I tried making mango jam, didn’t use pectin, 6 cups mangos, 2 cups water and 3 cups sugar. Combined mangos and water bring to a boil, then process in blender, return to pot, add sugar and bring to a boil, then boil for 40 minutes. Then remove and bottle [sterilized jars, lids] The jam, however, didn’t set – it’s runny, not what I wanted. I’d like to take the puree and try adding some pectin to make it set. I’d appreciate anyone’s thoughts on how to proceed!

    Jul 20, 2008 | 10:47 pm

     
  15. millet says:

    MM, where do you get your mason jars? they may not necessarily be “ball” jars, just regular jam jars with rubber seals.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 10:16 am

     
 

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