Ube Jaleya / Purple Yam Jam

The ube jam of Good Shepherd in Baguio is good. ujam1Almost too good… a perfect color, smooth and creamy and delicious. I have never been able to replicate it at home though I have come close on just my fourth try… I took earlier comments on my ube jam posts to heart and did some things differently this last attempt… first, I washed and brushed the ube very well to remove all remnants of soil and other cooties. Then I boiled it with its skin on (previously I peeled it and bled it colorless…) and after cooking it removed only the thinnest of outer layers that looks more like bark than skin. Just under this “bark” is the most intensely purple part of the tuber and I suspect a lot of the color resides in this out ¼ inch of the ube.

To about 2.3 kilos of cooked ube that I passed through a food mill (as seen in photo at right) for a finer grind, ujam2I added about 5.5 cups of milk and 3 cups of sugar and cooked it over a medium-low flame on the stove-top. Constant arm-numbing stirring is necessary and it took close to an hour to cook it and achieve the right consistency. I did not use any food coloring yet the color was a nice purple…frankly, the best color achieved in the past was with a touch of good purple food dye (not the watery food colors in the grocery)… The jam oxidizes or has some other chemical reaction and gets darker as it cools and before you store it away in the fridge. I also noticed that in a simultaneous pot of ube for pastillas, the color appeared more vibrant when condensed milk was added to the mixture… At any rate, the resulting jam is Boholano comfort sweet at its best…great by the spoonful or in halo-halo!


66 Responses

  1. Oh, I love purple yam! Back in Samar, my family had them planted in our garden all year round and it’s always towards the end of Nov or early Dec that they are harvested. My mom would make a lot of stuff out of them including of course, ube jam. It’s been ages since I had eaten the real freshly made ube jam and reading this entry made me homesick. Can only find the commercial bottled ones here in London and they are nasty! Thanks for posting this!

  2. Does anyone know where to get ube jam in the US? I tried a Google search without luck — I want to make ice cream!

  3. Tom, I noticed in a recent Gourmet or Food&Wine that someone makes premium ube ice cream and ships them out for a pricey USD9 per pint or so… Alternatively, they make powdered ube that Asian stores might carry…it can be reconstituted and made into a base for ice cream…

  4. Your best bet in the US is to find a friendly neighborhood family-run Filipino restaurant that sells it. That’s where I get mine… the restaurant owner makes it herself. Yum!

  5. i was at the filipino supermarket today and was nearly tempted to buy the powder ube. but I placed it back
    I just cant bring myself to do it POWDER!
    Glad your back!

  6. That’s it? Milk and sugar? Why is it that I remember our cook back when I was tiny add so many things to it? It was such a production! The old kawa would be washed and cleaned and the halaya will be cooked in an open flame(thus the slightly smoky flavor). There will be lots of niyog to make coconut milk, condensed milk, evap and lots of sugar. There’s also timing involved in the adding of the coconut milk. It will be added twice or thrice. Anyway, it takes hours of mind numbing stirring to get it to the thick paste that she prefers. It’s also a very dark purple not the bright purple that’s the rage now. Much thicker too. In LA you might get the commercial ones sold in Filipino supermarkets. Not that good though.

  7. Mitchell’s ice cream in San Francisco has got ube ice cream, along with a bunch of other pinoy flavors like buko, avocado etc. It’s a hit even among white/non-filipino americans, esp foodies.

  8. There is also an ice cream place in Chinatown, NYC called the Chinatown Ice cream Factory,(or something similar to that. Have not been there in years but they had some delicious taro and coconut ice cream among many other delicious asian flavors . If you are in the tri-state area you might want to try them some time.

  9. I have to say that I have a serious aversion to ube brought about by intense childhood traumas.

    My surname ends in V and as a child I was always seated in the back row of the classroom. Every time there would be a class birthday party, they would dole out the ice cream cups and all those nasty little kids in front would choose chocolate and mango. Being one of the last, I would inevitably be left with the Ube option (on good days I’d get to choose between ube and vanilla).

    I’m just learning to develop a taste for the purple yam…

  10. ube trivia….did you know that there was a PETA play (saw it at the Rajah Solayman theatre in Intramuros early 90’s i think – sorry forgot the title) wherein they cooked an entire vat of jaleyang ube as part of the backdrop for the story?
    (yes it took the entire duration of the play for the jaleya to cook with a several cast members taking a turn at the stirring of the mixture and at show’s end, the actors came out and distributed tastings of the jaleya to the audience)

    the reason the ube played a central part in the storyline was that it was a lola passing on to her apo how to cook the jaleyang ube properly and the lesson was interspersed with an account of her life and wisdom…

  11. Hi All, I’m just starting to discover all these excellent foodie blogs. Living in a city that is devoid of good pinoy restaurant, one is forced to cook his own version of pinoy food. Thanks for sharing your recipes and cooking tips.

    I read Tom’s comment and I felt compelled to offer a bit of help.

    I have a “Minimum effort, Maximum taste, No Sweat“ Super Kunat Ube Jam recipe if anybody is interested. It’s good for people who has adopted a foreign country and called it home but still longs for food that reminds him of his roots. It almost taste like the Good Shepherd ube jam MM mentioned. My recipe involves a microwave oven and a pyrex dish so very minimum stirring in involved.

  12. i’m planning to do a research on ube jam for my undergrad thesis here in UP diliman. i’m a big fan of the Good Shepherd sisters’ ube jam. :) but one thing i noticed, they don’t last long! and i cant enjoy a jar of ube jam for more than a day or two. thats why in my thesis, im planning to extend its shelf life but still have that delicious quality. if i can get them to last for months, maybe they’d start exporting those delicious ube jams in the US.. :) so, who’d like to fund my research? hehehe. kidding. :)

  13. jenna, anything truly fresh generally doesn’t last long. There are lots of ube jams in the grocery that last longer with the addition of some preservative. Good shepherd apparently has no preservatives at all.

  14. yes, iv seen some ube jams in the grocery and they use sodium benzoate as preservative but they dont even look delicious. i want to respect Good shepherd’s idea of no added chemical preservative. as an alternative, im planning to introduce natural additives such as humectants and employ thermal processing to extend the shelf life.

  15. Sorry for the delay, I got snowed in with work. Here it is.

    Quick & Easy Ube:

    You’ll need:

    1 packet frozen Ube, thawed (about 2 cups boiled & mashed, difficult to get fresh ones here in Sydney)
    ½ cup Cadbury Caramel topping or any brand (normally used for ice cream)
    ½ cup Condensed milk
    4 tbsp salted butter

    5 pcs. paper towel
    Covered Pyrex bowl big enough to hold all ingredients and room for stirring
    Microwave oven
    Wooden spoon for stirring
    Extract all the liquid from the thawed ube by placing it on top of the paper towels.

    Combine Caramel and condensed milk into pyrex bowl, cover and microwave for 7 minutes.

    Take out of microwave and stir using wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Take extra care when stirring boiling liquid. Let cool (uncovered) for 10 minutes.

    Cover the bowl and microwave again for 5 minutes.
    (it is necessary to repeat the process to thicken the liquid. It’s easier this way before adding the ube).

    Take out of microwave and stir using wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Add the Ube and make sure there are no bits of paper towel attached, stir for 2 minutes.
    You can add a pinch of salt, if you’re not worried about your salt intake.
    Let cool (uncovered) for 10 minutes.

    Cover the bowl and microwave again for 5 minutes.
    (for the last time)

    Take out of microwave and stir using wooden spoon for 1 minute. Add the butter and stir for 3 minutes.

    At this stage, the mixture should be of spreading consistency and will become more chewy as it cools down… Enjoy.

    Last year my partner’s family had an outdoor shindig and we were asked to bring dessert. I did this and to make it a finger food, I scooped a spoonful and rolled it on toasted chopped almonds. Everyone loved it. I reckon other nuts would work well too.

  16. Try the pure ube jam sold in the Petron station at the BGH circle in Baguio. It’s pure chunky ube (not creamy like Good Shepherd’s which I heard mixes purple camote in their halaya), made with milk and fresh butter. Just be sure to reserve because it gets sold-out especially on weekends.

  17. hi,

    you hv a cool blog site. about the ube jam is it possible to show the step by step methods of making this… i miss my shot of ube ice cream and usually buy the magnolia brand when possible…hehe..im in jakarta,indonesia. thanks so much for this…keep up the great work!


  18. joy, how much more step by step instructions do you need than are described above? I think it is pretty detailed. Ube, milk, sugar and brazo power is all that is needed. That’s about as detailed as I can get. If you don’t have a food mill, use a potato masher.

  19. hi! thanks for your recipe . i will try to cook it perhaps tomorrow or the the day after . i saw the frozen ube at the filipino shop and i really would like to eat it.a mouth watering delicasy…only one thing you did not specify if milk is fresh cows milk or tin can milk.or cocomilk.. thanks

  20. Dear Marketman,
    Congratulations on your ube experiment. The color is brilliant purple. Good Shepherd ube jam is made of pure ube grown in the mountains. WE DO NOT MIX IT WITH PURPLE CAMOTE as one commented. It has no articificial color.
    Sr. Guadalupe Bautista, rgs
    Good Shepherd Baguio

  21. Sujata,

    If you mix coconut milk instead of cow’s milk, it’s going to be called kalamay.. It’s also good but not as creamy as halaya.. I myself prefer halaya..

    Good Shepherd’s Halaya is good, but I do prefer my grandma’s sister’s version, wherein the ube is darker than Good Shepherd’s and chunkier, and less sweet. It is also “makunat”.. My grandma’s sister’s version is so good, no kidding, kakanin are her specialties..

  22. anything w/ ube.. i like! try ube tarts from Rowena’s (in tagaytay!) :) soo good! i like good shepherd’s ube jam of course!

  23. oh! what a wonderful taste of ube jam from Baguio city Philippines its just around my village. Elna Smith would you mine to come and visit Good shepherd’s ube yummy jam?

  24. Here in Houston, in the Oriental Town (I called it this way because it is a mixture of chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, and etc.) they started selling fresh ube. But my sister still cook her halaya using the frozen grated one because it is much easier. I am going to try her recipe using the fresh one and I’ll tell you all the results. I just don’t know where to get cow’s milk.

  25. Hi- when I left the Philippines last December I was gifted with several packets of Ube powder I’ve made haleya with it and it turned out quite well,taste and color- wise.I am looking at one packet right now and it is manufactured by Fruit-Plus Produce Phil,Inc.
    Severina Industrial Subdivision,Km.16
    South Superhighway,1700 Paranaque
    Metro Manila,Philippines.
    It claims to contain “no chemical,preservatives,additives nor added coloring” and lists as its ingedients “Dehydrated purple yam (ube) and cane sugar”.
    There’s a recipe for “halaya(ube spread” at the back of the packet which I did not follow. I used 4 packets,half and half, sugar and butter. It did not take long to cook too which is always a big plus for busy me.

  26. I would like to ask how long is the shelf life of ube jam,if under refrigeration, & no refrigeration

  27. Our family prefers haleya which is kind of chewy or “makunat”. And this is accomplished by cooking 2 cups of mashed or milled boiled ube with 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 tall can of evaporated milk (I prefer Alpine) under low to medium heat with constant stirring until you reach the consistency whereon the whole mixture will almost separate from the pan in one lump when being stirred. (Note: Mix the mixture first until homogenous or evenly-mixed before cooking.)

    A flat-bottomed wok is ideal to cook on and a long bamboo type spatula is good to use for stirring.

    When ube is in season, I usually buy 10 kls of ube. After scrubbing and washing the ube I cook them in pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Peel the topmost skin only, cut and mill (or mash with fork if there is no foodmill/grinder). Pack in ziploc (freezer type) and freeze. Put two cups per ziploc.
    I also save and freeze the water used in cooking the ube for additional color enhancement when finally cooking the haleya by using it in place of the 1 cup water called for in the recipe.

  28. a friend of mine is going to Baguio this weekend. which is the better ube jam do you think? the Good Shepherd’s or the Tamtanco’s? I am from Bacolod and I would like an ube jam for pasalubong but which is better-tasting?

  29. aimee, I have never tried Tamtanco’s, but I believe both are good choices. But I have to warn you, the jam doesn’t keep unless refrigerated…

  30. elow guys im ube jam lover also an ube maker….i made ube 6 to 8 kls and its really hard to stirr… hehe this site is really nice.. i hope we’ve always sharing our experiences

  31. for now im doing an experiment on how to preserve this jam…hehehe mahirap eh preserved u need to refreginate or else this ube will spoil…

  32. hi there marketman. are you boholano? am planning to put up a coffee shop soon and i would like to talk to you. thanks!

  33. hello. after doing my undergraduate thesis, I was able to extend the shelf-life of ube jam for at least 2-3 months unrefrigerated without the chemical preservatives. :) but that’s trade secret for now. hehe.

    usually, ube jams spoil under 1 week unrefrigerated, and about 2 weeks refrigerated (1 month frozen). you can try keeping the jams (freshly cooked and still hot) in air-tight containers and keep them closed until use. as with most food products, refrigerate after opening. it is best you keep them in smaller portions/packages to minimize spoilage. :)

  34. Hi, I found your site when I googled purple yam and ube. I’m not sure the paste I bought (see pic here http://www.ireneeng.com/?p=1258) is the same thing you’re talking about here, :) .. Do you know if this is cooked or raw? Can this be used for pot roast, etc. other than just sweet? Thanks. Happy holidays to all.

  35. Hi Marketman, thank you for the timely reply. And THANK you for leaving a comment on my site: it’s been spams from pornos and druggies, etc.

  36. MM .. Yes, it’s from the Philippines. It’s in the form of a cake (brick).. it became soft after the steam, then turned solid once it gets cold.

  37. I just made my 1st ube jam or kalamay as Blaise Foruna mentioned, since i used coconut milk. Some recipe books suggested to use pandan, dayap rind. Any comment on this.

    Thank you.

  38. i’m having trouble identifying the yam. i looked online and the skin of this yam is black; but i’ve seen another yam in the supermarket (in orange, ca, us) and the skin is brownish white but inside is also purple? can someone help me here? thank you very much!

  39. My family is in ube jalaya maker for 30 years now, it started since my great grand father. Mostly, our costumers are foreigners who tasted our product, and the balikbayans that will return to their work in abroad. They used to purchase 10-20 kilos of our home made ube jalaya and sell it to our kababayans that loved our product. Sad to say, we can only cook 1 batch per day that will produce 10-22 kilos of ube jalaya, this is due to lack of capital and a steady supplier of ube raw materials. I hope you can help me in a way to find a steady supplier of raw ube because the supply here in cainta rizal is very rare, thats why we have to buy to a adjacent townmarket for a higher price. By the way, its my turn to manage the production from now on, i hope that i can grow our business that my great grandfather started. you can email my at mjsfelix@hotmail.com if you are interested

  40. To Market Man….What is the best milk that i can use in cooking ube jam. Or can any body help me on this. Thanks very much.

  41. elmo, here are three suggestions: those with a certain nostalgic taste, use canned evaporated milk that provides a distinct flavor. I use fresh whole milk, pasteurized in bricks if there isn’t real fresh milk. Some might consider using carabao’s milk, that would also have its own flavor.

  42. to bzlola,
    i would want to know the exact measurement when using powdered ube…i have a pack of ube powder sitting in my pantry…i usually use it for bakig ube cake.thanks!

  43. how wondeful that this simple ube and its splendid colour and unique taste bring this harmony among bloggers!
    Simple needs of Pinays and Pinays…our government should invest in more ube development. It brings peace and joy!I find so many good tasting ube though from Thailand in Chinese shops here…not our ube, unfortunately.
    Thanks for the info. Will try preparing it next Friday and wait for the comments of other friends in diaspora.

  44. Hi, I’ve been reading most of the posted comments about making ube halaya and stuff but I was wondering if anyone know how to make the ube filling for hopia and pande-ube. I have been Google, Lycos, Hotbot, Yahoo searching but to no avail, there are none available. Anyone who wants to volunteer their secret recipe is surely appreciated.


    I lived in hong kong as a child and absolutely LOVED ube. Would be over the moon to try it again.

  46. hello!
    has anybody used ube puree for any ube products, jam, ice creams or pastillas? thanks

  47. ube jam/ or ube jaleya is so delicious. i and my mama used to cook ube jaleya if there is an occasion/celebration in our house. it symbolizes the unity and the nice harmony of our family. it’s sweet! i love it!!!!

  48. Hi, I’m Joy Apag of Bohol. We are making purple ubi powder and we are looking for partners where we can market our product. We can assure that our ubi powder is one of the best powder produced in Bohol Province. We are inviting potential outlets to contact us through my email address or you can ring us at telephone numbers (038)-2382-147 or cell nos. 09264144531 or 09192676507.

    We can send sample products for those who are interested. Thank you very much.

  49. hi.. where do i buy ube jaleya in manila? Thanks.. Is there any branches here in manila?

  50. Dear Market Man

    I just want to know how can i extend the shelf life of my coonked ube jalaya. Thank you so much.

    Fe Reyes

  51. archie and riza_ Source of fine ube halaya:
    1. Good Shepherd convent Baguio City
    2. Good Shepherd convent Tagaytay
    3. Good Shepherd convent at 1043 Aurora Blvd near
    Katipunan, fronting PSBA and near St. Bridget’
    4. Market Market stall
    5. Marketplace – the Tamtamco brand
    information courtesy of avatar and mila, karen, eco passerby

  52. Hello guys! if you really want to imitate the ube jam in Baguio, your are lacking of one ingredient. evaporated milk, condense milk, and sugar was ok, now try to put margarine on it, not butter..Note: make sure to put the right amount of margarine by tasting it.

  53. hi everyone! just want to promote my ube jalaya, which is really affordable and very yummy. friends and family here in manila and abroad just love it. should you like to try out a different stuff, call me at 632(532-2871) or you could text me at 63918 (6186665). you could also reach me thru e-mail, it’s baby_mariano2003@yahoo.com. would be so glad to hear from you.



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