Fig. 1 Apple Jam Jam Jammy!
My Mom makes the world's most wonderful Jam! But.. she completely wings it! So far I have not been able to extract a precise recipe from her that gives me jam that tastes exactly like hers. I think she largely eyeballs the process till it gives her the texture and taste that is so hers!! Oh well! The disadvantages of learning cooking on the phone. If I could see her make it, perhaps it might turn out perfect. The bane of my life is that no one has yet invented a "Beam me up, Scotty" style mass-transporter. Where is all the research money going? Who is working on this transporter stuff? Oh, if wishes were horses..
Today, I am trying my hand at food-fiction. So please bear with me. What follows is the product of a mind deranged by Jam and Star Trek!
Space JamStarry-eyed Sarita was about to leave small-town, Homeville, for glitzy Bollywood! Math and Science had never interested her. Sarita was all for the Arts! She had always been the lead in school plays, the best in her dance class and the funniest family-entertainer on dull Sunday afternoons. There was no doubt she had a glorious career in cinema and theater ahead.
Finally the time had come for her to explore the world and find her place in it! The shine and shimmer of Bollywood had pervaded all of Homeville just as it had the rest of the world. And its sheen had not escaped young Sarita! She dreamed of being paired with SRK and Hritik Roshan, no less! Siya was going to be her screen-name and "Siya... naam toh suna hoga!" was going to be the new in dialog for the Johars and Chopras of Bollywood. Sarita was on her way to stardom and nothing would stand in her way!
Except... Jam!! Sarita was terribly foodie. And her Mom's cooking was something she couldn't do without! And it wasn't just her dal and rice.. Mom's cookies, her cakes, her chicken, her fish, her smoothies, her shakes, her mutton, her quiche....and most of all.. Mom's jams!!! Uff! No Mam, Sarita could not ham a single word on silver screen without her Mom's jam! Brought up in the world of PBnJ, Sarita had to have her dose of jam every single day! But shiny Bollywood was oceans away! Air travel was going to be so expensive and time consuming... there would be no way to get Mom's jam every day! And then there was the question of her Mom's cookies, her cakes, her chicken, her fish, her smoothies, her shakes, her mutton, her quiche....
Sarita's was a heavy heart. To give up her dream of Bollywood!!! Or to leave behind the Mom who generates the most glorious food on this planet! Sarita knew what had to be done. Someone had to do it. Someone simply had to do it!! And since no one else was doing it.. she would just have to roll up her own sleeves and do it herself!
She had to invent a mass-transporter!
Anything is possible when you are a woman with an iron resolve (and writing nonsense masquerading as food-fiction). So my dear readers, this was how the acclaimed Nobel Laureate, Madam
Her invention has now revolutionized travel all over the world. And yes, Sarita's dream has also come true! She still lives in Homeville, but works in Bollywood! She now routinely stars as Siya in Bollywood movies with SRK and Hritik Roshan (both actors together in the same movie, Sarita playing a double-role!)
Of course, Sarita has to produce her movies herself. After all, who will invest in a geeky jam-eater!
Apples - 3 large, I used red delicious, chopped roughly into slices. Do not peel.
Lime Juice ~ 1 tablespoon
Sugar ~ 1 cup
Ginger - 1 large piece, when chopped into tiny pieces probably makes about 3 tablespoons. Really as per taste. I like a lot of ginger.
Water - eyeball approximately
1) Core the apples. Save the core, keep it whole. Chop apples, with the peel (gives the red colour).
2) Chop ginger into tiny pieces. Ginger is added if the jam is for grown-ups. Kids may not like the gingery taste. Not sure. Can skip ginger if you want.
3) Put lime/lemon juice, ginger and apples pieces, with the large core pieces in a saucepan. Add just enough water to barely cover them. (Sorry about the hand-wavy measurement for water here, but this is what the recipe says.)
4) Heat till apples and ginger are completely cooked and soft. Core pieces will also start to wilt a little. Don't let them completely disintegrate.
5) Now remove the core pieces and discard them.
6) Grind the cooked apple and ginger. I like slightly chunky jam, not the smooth paste version. So I ground them roughly. You can make a smooth paste if you don't like lumpy jam.
7) Now this ground pulp is further heated in the saucepan. This time add sugar. Mix well. Heat the pulp (which at this point is really watery). Stir every so often. As the pulp thickens, it sticks to the bottom. It also splatters a lottt. Heat till a lot of the water is gone and the pulp gets to the consistency of jam and will not drop off your spoon very easily. That is when the jam is done.
8) Store in sterilized, perfectly dry, airtight bottles. I saved it in a simple dry glass bottle, but kept it in the refrigerator.
This particular recipe is definitely painstaking. The measurements here (primarily water) are slightly flaky. And more importantly, it took me 1&1/2 hour to get the whole thing done!! Most of the time was spent in waiting around for all that water to evaporate.... and the boiling pulp splattered all over the place. I guess Mom used to manage doing this every now and then somehow.. Although not exactly like Mom's, the taste was really great! So was the texture. And it has lasted pretty long in the refrigerator. But there has to be a faster way. I think next time I might try to cook the apples and ginger in a microwave with very little water and then proceed with sugar, etc on stovetop. I promise to fine-tune this and get another version of this recipe down in future. Jam isn't consumed very fast in our household (I am no Sarita Purie). So I didn't get another chance to make this again. But this lot is almost gone now. Will update the recipe when I make another batch!
Thanks Mom for this recipe and all the others. And for all the time and effort you have put into feeding us and creating delicious memories of our childhood! :)
Thanks to my readers who read all that non-sense up there! This post goes to Sandeepa of Bong Mom's Cookbook who is hosting a food-fiction event, started by Aquadaze of Served with Love. Sandeepa may be expecting sentimental stuff for Mother's Day.. but then, who says stories about Mass-Transporters are not mushy? When it is really invented you will all remember my words and get all mushy when you use it to get to your Moms. So this is my sweet and mushy, soggy-with-sentiment entry to all Momly events. :)
This post is also going to Jyothi of Panch Pakwan who is hosting a Mother's Day event. Not sure if it's ok I haven't made this today. It is a fresh post though, I swear! Let me know if this works (or doesn't work) for you Jyothi..
This post also goes to Shabitha of My Home Kitchen who is also holding a Mom's recipes event. Not sure if I can share this post with three events.. Ok with you too I hope Shabitha.
Cheers and Happy Mother's Day, everyone!