I can't bring myself to by jam at the shops, but when I see it at a local stall made from fresh local produce my kids can twist my arm. It's better still when the kids help to make it at home from our own surplus fruit or fruit from neighbours. The flavour is so much fuller, and I feel happier that I know where the fruit is from, who has grown it and what else has gone into the cooking pot.
Jam is definitely considered a 'treat' food in our house - not a staple. And most mass-manufactured jams I would consider to be more in the 'junk food' category. Typically too jams are full of imported fruits and I want to support local sustainable farmers.
The inspiration for jam-making came a young friend came to our Nature Kids program carrying bags and bags of Jaboticaba. Her tree was laden with fruit at home with way more than her family could consume. She said it was growing at the end of her grey water system so was particularly productive.
She gave away as much as she could to everyone at the Organic Animal Farm visit, but she still had so much left. We took it home and my daughter led the jaboticaba jam making session with a little help from Dad - her first attempt at independently doing it.
The first batch ended up a bit runny, great for cordial. We made icy poles that everyone enjoyed at the end of the hot day. The second batch, with less water added, worked perfectly - a great consistency. Perfect for some morning toast...
|Yes, the jam was absolutely devoured!|
Jaboticabas have a very unusual growing habit - the flowers and fruit form on the main stems, not at the ends of the branches. You need to peer deep inside the bush to see what's happening. It's wonderful treat to see all the dark globes of sweetness plumping up on the trunk. They start as small green balls and reach 2-3 cm diameter.
|Jabooticaba is a strange and delicious fruit that grows abundantly on the trunk.|
A Jaboticaba tree makes a great hedge, or plant in a more formal garden as their leaves are shiny, small and dense. It's slow to get started, but once established it's a great fruiter - setting fruit a few times a year.
I planted our two Jaboticaba trees long our entrance pathway. This way, I can dive in and take a look when I am on my way home and grab a bagful. It's good to know when they are coming on and get ready to beat the birds who also think they are quite the treat!
Our own Jaboticaba tree (Plinia cauliflora) is now bulging with so much fruit, I know what is going to happen to the surplus!
Maia's Jaboticaba Jam recipe:
- Fill 1 litre container with jaboticaba fruit
- .5 litre water
- .5 kg sugar
- Boil the jaboticaba.
- When fruit softens, use masher to crush the fruit.
- Add sugar, bring back to boil and simmer for approx 1 hour - until it sets on a cold plate.
- Pour into sterilised jars and seal.