Finally, a mango jam I really like. Just the right texture, still obviously mango fruit, a bright color, fresh taste and not overly sweet. I have made mango jams before, but they were never quite what I really wanted. My first attempt yielded a chunky, fruity and sweet preserve, delicious on toast, but a bit too sweet, previous post here. I posted about a second version of mango jam that I made, that was also good, but less of preserve and really more of a jam. With lemon juice added, it seemed to have a better balance of sweetness to fruity flavor, but it still wasn’t it. I subsequently tried several versions with muscovado sugar, but ended up with a dark saucy mess instead. There are definitely two schools of thought on mango jam — one simply a tropical version of western jams where the fruit is supreme — the other locally known as mango jaleya, where mangoes and sugar are stewed for hours until almost all the liquid evaporates and you have a very dense, concentrated and nearly dark mustard orange jam. This is the jam that is used as fillings for cookies such as masa podrida and other native delicacies. I see the advantages of both preparations, but I was seeking to perfect the former…
…the perfect opportunity presented itself when nearly 40 kilos of under ripe, organically raised and individually wrapped mangoes from a family farm in Guadalupe Cebu arrived at our home. We waited a couple of days and made jam from about 8-10 kilos of the mangoes, that were at that point a day shy of fully ripe. You need some of the sourness to create high notes in the final jam and these turned out very nicely indeed. I have always wondered why it is so difficult to find a really nice jar of mango jam in a country that boasts some of the finest mangoes in the world. Now I know why. At roughly 1.5 kilos of raw fruit plus sugar for a small 8 oz. jar of jam, it is wicked costly to do if you buy your mangoes retail. At PHP80 a kilo for good mangoes, your total cost would be roughly PHP150 a bottle, and you’d have to sell it for PHP250-300 to make it worth your while. That’s really a shame, because the sickly sweet grocery versions that are filled with preservatives, fillers and gosh knows what else simply do NOT hold a candle up to nicely made home made jam. If you find yourself with a bounty of mangoes, here’s how we did it.
For 8-9 kilos of mangoes a day shy of ripe, remove the meat and set aside the seeds. Weigh the mango meat, you will have roughly 4.0-5.0 kilos. Place the mango and juice of 3 dalandans in a food processor and pulse/blitz until the mango is just barely pureed. You don’t want to make it too smooth, the fruit chunks should still be clearly visible. Meanwhile, measure out white refined sugar to the same weight of the mango pulp, less about 10%. Many recipes suggest a 1:1 ratio, but I like my jam less sweet and possessing a brighter mango flavor. Put the blitzed mango in a large, heavy enameled or alternative copper jam pot. Add sugar, 2.5-3.0 tablespoons of fruit pectin powder and mix and let this stand for 15 minutes or so. Turn the heat up to high, stir the jam until it reaches 221F on a candy thermometer. You need a thermometer unless you are a really good and instinctive or lucky cook. Turn off the heat, skim the scum off the surface of the jam and bottle as you would all jams. You can store this in the fridge for a few weeks, otherwise, you will have to boil the bottles of jam submerged in water for 8-10 minutes if you want to keep it in the pantry for up to a year. I think the photos tell the story here. A wonderful color and consistency and a bright mango flavor. The best we have ever made at home. Now if only thousands of kilos of under ripe mangoes showed up in our kitchens at the right time… we could even sell it. :)