Mangosteen jam is a truly superb Filipino delicacyâ€¦ I have always liked mangosteen jam and most often eat it with coffee ice cream or with a ripe banana, but I have neither made it myself nor seen anyone else make it. As a kid, we used to get some jars of Lorenzo Farms mangosteen jam every year and it was always considered a special treat. When I lived abroad, I never got any mangosteen jam and it slowly disappeared into my subconscious until I found some Kablon Farms jam recently. But it is almost NEVER in stock and finding it is like a minor burst of unbridled joy in a grocery or food store. That is, until today. Marketman has discovered mangosteen jam nirvana. I made a wickedly good jam. But wickedly goodâ€¦
I was so pleased with myself that I briefly (say 2 minutes) toyed with the idea of cornering the local mangosteen market and making thousands of bottles of jam under a Marketman label. Artisanal mangosteen jam. A limited edition. A numbered bottle. A waitlist from global jam connoisseurs. An outrageous price of USD10 for a tiny bottle; FEDEX delivery additional. A side mention in Australian Vogue Entertaining, a plug by Ruth Reichl at Gourmet, a pyramid display of bottles at the Harrodâ€™s Food Halls in London or perhaps Fauchon in Paris insteadâ€¦ WAKE UP, Marketman! Hmmm, daydreaming is healthy, I think.
After a brief call to my sister last night to ask what proportion of fruit to sugar might be appropriate, I decided to forge ahead today without any previous experience or even a recipe. I peeled about 5 kilos of mangosteen for a highly costly (PHP950+ if it failed) experiment. That huge amount of fruit yielded only a bit more than a kilo worth of fruit, with seeds and all. I then added 1.2 kilos of sugar to the fruit sections and let it steep for two hours or so. The most amazing thing happens, the sugar draws the liquid and flavor out of the pulp and the whole thing turns to a glorious, expensive, soupy mess. So far so good.
Next, I placed the mangosteen and sugar mixture in a heavy enameled pot, I used my Le Creuset, and place over medium low heat and stir occasionally until it reaches the right color and consistency. Mine took about 2 hours to make (addendum: do not cook this more than an 60-80minutes, it will solidify after cooling; try 60-70 minutes on your first attempt)! The pale off-white mess turned into a glorious pot of reddish brown jam. It looked, smelled and tasted utterly fantastic. I was chasing after the dark color of the bottled jam so I think if there is one thing I did wrong on this maiden attempt, it was to cook it until it was just a bit too thick. I would stop when it was more syrupy next time. After a night in the refrigerator, it is a bit harder than I would like. But a bit of a thaw still yields a wonderful jam.
Thatâ€™s it. Itâ€™s that simple! Pulp and sugar. The fruit seems to have a lot of pectin so it reaches a nice jamminess. The seeds get totally cooked and the pulp melds with the sugar to make the most amazingly flavored jam. I have always said damson plum was my all-time favorite jam on the planet. But I think mangosteen is my second most favorite ever. I was quite nervous about such a costly experiment. Plus my lack of jam making experience. But this was a snap. Practically anyone can do this. And I got nearly 1.5 kilos of jam as a result. Enough to last until the next time I buy a basket full of mangosteensâ€¦perhaps next month??? Know of anyone selling a mangosteen orchard?