Monday, July 13, 2009

Peach & Plum Jam – A melody in fruit and spices….

Two weeks back, I woke up one morning telling myself, “ I am going to start blogging from today!! “ and curled up under the cover thinking about the peach and plum jam I made the previous night , the fruity fragnrance of which had invaded the dark passages of my nostrils and found its way to my clogged up brain. The intoxicating smell of the fruits cooking in the pot , with a subtle note of the spices filled up our kitchen and living room, awakening all my senses as well as reviving the spirits of the blogger in me . Though I had paired the fruits out of a random brainwave,the temptation to blog grew stronger when CJJ, entrusted with the responsibility of taste –test as the fruits were coming to a rolling boil, made an unexpected remark that “I have a gut feeling that this jam is going to be awesome…”!!!

Days passed by and nothing happened…..and whenever I logged into my blog account , the picture of that muringakka/Drumstick curry stared back at me. Towards the end of that week, I saw CJJ spreading some of that jam on a slice of bread and heard him saying, “ hmm…wow” . Again I told myself , “Todayyy …I have to take a picture and write this down before I forget the recipe” .

One more week passed and nothing happened…..and last weekend, CJJ offered me a slice of bread slathered with some of that jam and as I digged my teeth into it, once again , I felt the same urge and today I saw myself rummaging my closets for the bag of camera and its accessories and also spent a good amount of time searching for the camera manual as I realised I had completely lost touch with the basics of photography itself. I know it will take some time to get back to my grooves again but atleast I am glad that I am making an attempt.

As much as am inspired to write about this simple concoction from my kitchen and make a come back to the blog world, I see myself sharing the thoughts of that school kid who lived in my body two decades ago. She always had some strange inhibitions to go back to school after a week of absence due to fever or some other sickness, wondering if she would still have a place among her friends. As I write this I have the same feelings , same doubts……though the number of supporting mails and comments I received from dear blogger friends and readers, over the last few months, is enough to convince me that I have a place there in your hearts!!! Thanks a ton for all those thoughtful messages and reassuring mails :)

Well, though that was a long prelude for a simple Peach & Plum Jam, I really don’t have any exact measurements to write down a detailed recipe. I will just note down what I threw in and hopefully, that would give you a canvas to make your own creation.

I started by chopping 4 ripe peaches and 6-8 dark plums ( as big as a lemon and not the small ‘cherry size’ variety I have seen in India during my childhood) into small chunks and discard the fruit pits. Squeeze one orange and pour the juice to a medium size sauce pot , along with fruit chunks and 3 ½ to 4 cups of sugar ( varies depending on the natural sweetness of the fruits); throw in 5 whole cloves and 5 pices of flat cinnamon with around 1 inch length. Bring everything to a rolling boil and skim off the foam that accumulates on top. Continue this process in medium heat, stirring every now and then , until the the foam is reduced, fruits are cooked well and start to thicken a bit. At this stage start mashing the fruit chunks with a potato masher or with the back of a wooden spoon; for the latter you need to use some of your elbow grease. The whole process of simmering and thickening will take about 40-60 minutes and towards the end, add 1-2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and simmer for another 5 minutes and turn off the stove. In case, the taste of lemon juice is over powering, you may add a drizzle of honey and stir for another 1-2 minutes before turning off the stove (I did). Before ladling the warm jam into sterized jars, remove the whole spices with a fork . I noticed that the jam thickens as it cools, so stop at a consistency where the mixture is still a bit loose in texture. Store in an airtight jar and refrigerate.

Will I make it again? Sure! Perhaps during the next season!

Thanks again for being patient with me and for keeping this place alive by your occasional visits :) I will try to keep this page active though the frequency of the posts might not be the same as earlier!


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