From Farm Fresh Fruit to Home Made Goodness
A short while back the inter-provincial borders in South Africa were opened for a few days, and we were allowed to move between provinces in order to get back to original place of dwelling (given that the right documentations and traveling permits were in order) or work (in the event that your work was certified as an essential service by the government). So, I made use of this opportunity to get my daughter, who was stuck in Durban with me for the lock-down, back to our home town, and only because schools were said to open shortly and that there was a mere few drays grace on inter-provincial travel.
So I decided to embark on the long journey, I started my first leg of the journey on the Friday morning, and safely arrived on the farm 12 hours later, managed to grab a few hours sleep, and then tended to the goats, the nursery and a few other tasks that my parents were struggling with. I was absolutely exhausted, but it was simply things that could not suffer neglect during these crucial times, and sometimes you just have to push through and do what needs to be done, right? Well, so it went that I managed to catch up on whatever I could on the farm over the next two days, running on little sleep and less energy, and then made my way back to Durban on the other side of the country in order to get back to work. As they say, "there ain't no rest for the wicked": Cage the Elephant - Lyrics
Before I left there I was given quite a bit of fruits from my valley to bring back up with me, this included Avocado, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Pompelmoes, Naartjies and dried Mango to name a few. And although me and the family that I am isolated with did a good job at working through the most of it, there was still just too much to eat before it got overripe. Me, being a little farm girl, I have grown accustomed to nothing going to waste as far as I can help it, so I decided to find ways to make the most of what we had. And the biggest amount of fruits we ended being left with was the Ruby Red Grapefruits.
So I decided to make some citrus jam, which I had never done before, marmalade yes, jam, no. And seeing that no-one here was really a fan of marmalade, I decided to experiment...
I started by supremeing six large grapefruit, and placed it in a closed container overnight, early the next next morning, I weighed out the fruit and placed it into a medium size pot and slowly started heating it up to a steady boil. I then weighed out the equivalent weight of sugar, and added that to the pot along with a pinch of salt, stirring continuously until the sugar was completely dissolved. I also added some finely cut slithers of Ginger to the pot, just to spice things up a bit. Then I dropped the temperature of the stove to low and let the mix slowly simmer and reduce stirring it occasionally.
The boiling down process took about 5 hours, but I assure you that the end result was worth the wait. I assumed that there would still be a bitterness, or a bitter after taste from the grapefruit, but that was not at all the case. I was left with a very yummy, smooth citrus jam, with all of the flavor you'd come to expect of a good marmalade, but none of the bitter, and the slithers of ginger rounded off the zesty citrus flavor impressively.
Recap - Recipe:
480g - Supremed Grapefruit
480g - Sugar
2.5g - Salt
50g - Finely Sliced fresh Ginger
- Place fruit(along with the juice) and ginger on the stove top on high heat and bring to the boil.
- Add sugar and salt and stir the mixture continually until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Reduce the heat, and let the pot simmer while mixture reduces in time.
- Stir Occasionally.
- Start testing Jam for readiness after about two and a half hours (Some jams cook faster than others)
How to test if the jam is ready?
Here is what I do, I normally place a small saucer into the freezer at the start of the process, then after about two and a half hours of cooking I start testing my jam by dropping a tiny bit on the ice cold plate. This helps you to see what the jams consistency will be like once cold. Under-cook and you will end up with a syrup - overcook and you will end up with a pot of sugar candy.
Once you have dripped some jam on the plate, you take your finger and push the dropped jam to one side, if the jam makes ripple lines at the top when you move it, it is completely ready and you can start to prepare your bottles while the jam cools down a bit.
Then you can bottle your jam into sterilized jars or containers and enjoy when you are ready.
(I got about 3.5 x 375ml bottles from this batch)
But wait there's more!
Once all the jam was done and bottled, I realized that I still had quite a bit of fruit left. So I decided to get even more experimental, and try to make a chutney...
For those of you that might not be too familiar with the word:
Now again, I have made some chutney before, however, i have never been brave enough to try it with citrus - let alone something as bold as grapefruit. But I was stuck at home, and I had nothing to lose except the fruit.
I started again by supremeing six grapefruit, and to this I decided to add some dried mango as well a dried currents, seeing that it was available, however I do prefer to use fresh fruit as far as I can.
Then I started on the savory side, I diced up half a large onion, three chilies and two garlic cloves.
I placed a pot on the stove on high heat and placed 450 gr of brown sugar along with 125ml of white spirit vinegar in it and brought that to the boil allowing the sugar to dissolve, then I added the diced dried mango, currents and grapefruit in, before adding the onion, garlic and chilly along with a pinch of salt.
Now, similar to making the jam, it is at this stage that you turn the heat all the way down and let the mixture slowly simmer and reduce while the flavors blissfully marry in the pot.
In this case it took close to three hours of waiting and occasional stirring before the chutney seemed to have reached the required consistency. But then again, it was certainly worth the wait...
Recap - Recipe:
1.5 Cups Dried Mango (you can replace this with one large fresh mango if available)
1 Cup Dried Currents (You can replace this with fresh or dried berries of your choice)
3 Cups of supremed Grapefruit
2 Garlic cloves
125ml White Spirit Vinegar
120g Chopped Onion
- Place the sugar and vinegar in a pot on the stove over high heat and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved.
- Then add the rest of your ingredients and turn the heat down.
- Allow the mixture to simmer for about 3 hours stirring occasionally.
- Once ready the chutney should be thick and chunky.
- The chutney is then ready to be bottled or packed into sterilized containers and can be enjoyed as a "relish" with any meal of your choice.