Here in Fiji, the home made jams are truly amazing. There is such an abundance of fruit here. Store bought jams are very, very sweet, and not really fruity. You can buy home made jams at most open air daily markets. Recently, I tried a jam made and sold by a friend, and it took me so many guesses as to the fruit! I never guessed, and had to be told, as it is a bit of a game with this jam as it looks and tastes exactly like home made raspberry jam, but is much cheaper to make.
It also provides a bit of fun when you serve it to guests, or give a jar away, as you can play the guessing game yourself. I have not had one person guess correctly yet, and they are amazed when the answer is revealed.
I don’t have any photos of the process, and will add them when I make it next time, but it is not rocket science, and there are no tricks!
Method and Ingredients
- Chop about 10 Chinese eggplants into about 2cm cubes, leaving the seeds in, and put into a large, heavy based pot
- Add 3 cups of sugar
- Add juice of any kind of citrus to taste (2 large lemons, or 3 limes, or 3 organges)
- Add the zest of the citrus (I normally just zest one but it is up to you)
- Source picture: http://www.food.com/library/star-anise-345
- Add water to cover
- Optional – I add just one spur of the star anise,just because it makes the guessing game a bit more fun, and it gives a mellow undertone)
- Bring to the boil and stir once in a while
- When the jam begins to turn red, and you can see all the seeds have come out of the eggplants, then turn the heat down to a simmer and simmer until the jam becomes glossy
- To test, drop a tiny drop from a spoon into a glass of water. If the jam kind of sticks together and remains visible without immediately dispersing, it is done!
Bottle and enjoy the fun!
It will be a tiny bit more maroon, and less red than raspberry, but I defy any cook to give it the “guess test”, and let me know if anyone catches on.