terça-feira, 1 de setembro de 2015

A Jam Made of Favorites: Mango and Strawberry Jam



The first time I tried this jam I was in France, in a village called Niedermorschwihr where I bought my first jar of mango and strawberry jam at the Au Relais de Trois Epis. I made a post about Niedermorschwihr here and the Au Relais de Trois Epis where Madam Ferber's central quarters are located.

Christine Ferber is known as the grand master of jams, or the jam fairy and hers are the most famous jams in France these days. Christine Ferber, or Madame Ferber, plays amazingly well with fruits, berries, herbs and nuts, mixing wisely and surprising us all. She is known for adding chocolate to her jam, making some of those jams extra dense and bold and velvety and extra delicious. I made two chocolate jams inspired by Madam Ferber and you can see my Banana and Chocolate jam here and my Rapsberry and Chocolate e here. I made some changes, but they were directly inspired by her jams.



It might sound a little bit arrogant but the jam I made, with delicious in season Norwegian strawberries, tasted much better than the one I bought at by Madam Ferber's maison in Niedermorschwihr. I used more strawberries than mangoes in my mix, while Madam Ferber clearly uses more mangoes and we can feel it not only because of the color of her jam, which is more orange, but the light strawberry flavor also indicates more mangoes were added to the mixture. Equal amounts of fruits would still produce a red jam with a quite dominant strawberry flavor, I have tried half and half and decided to go for a greater amount of strawberries in my mix.

If you dare to try this recipe don't settle with mine, go experiment with different amounts and find the mix that suits you better. Use different types of strawberries too...



The mixture made of mango and strawberries is a mixture of favorites as mango is the world's most eaten fruit while strawberry is the world's favorite berry. People get quite surprised to learn that mangoes are the world best seller fruit, as they think about themselves and all the bananas, apples and oranges they usually eat. Mangoes are native to Southeast Asia, originally the area where today is the country of India, where mango trees have been cultivated and loved for more than 20.000 years. Mango is naturally the national fruit of India and this country alone responds for more than 50% of the world production of mangoes, while it exports only 1% of its production... 99% of India's mango production is destined to the local markets. Can you imagine how much mango it takes to feed the love of a population of more than 1 billion people?




If the dominance of mangoes can be a surprise to some, there is no surprise in the fact that strawberries are a world favorite. Strawberries are a fabulous berry, delicious anywhere you find them. More or less sweet, more or less acidic, a strawberry is a strawberry, the distinctive aroma, the red color, the magical flavor, all together making it simply wonderful.

The Norwegian strawberries are a chapter apart, extra sweet and extra red, little or no acidity at all, due to the time the berries spent buried under snow during the long and cold Norwegian winters. Unfortunately, this does not mean they are free from toxic chemicals used in strawberry production. Even in cold Norway the strawberries are heavily sprayed and these berries should be well washed before eating and eaten in small amounts. The only good alternative is organic strawberries which are growing more and more every year. It is a challenge to grow organic strawberries, but the conventional one is not but better because, as expected, the bugs and pests are wiser that the chemical industry, and as humans we got to do better than that...



Mango and Strawberry Jam
(Inspired by Christine-Ferber)

300 grams of mangoes in cubes (preferably organic)
450 grams halved washed strawberries (preferably organic)
300 grams organic sugar (this is up to you, use more if you like)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

How:


In a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat cook the mangoes and the strawberries with 100ml of water. Once the mixture boils reduce the heat and let it cook until the fruits are soft, circa 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and using a hand mixer mix the fruits until they are homogeneous. Take the pan back to stove top, add sugar and lemon and cook until the right consistence. Around 10 minutes more. To check if the jam is ready, check the consistence by adding a teaspoon of jam to a cold plate. If the jam spreads it is not ready. Once it is ready the jam will gel immediately once in contact with the cold plate.

This recipe makes around 3 glasses of 250 ml to 300 ml.


Tips:

To check if the jam is ready, test its consistence by adding a teaspoon of jam to a cold plate. If the jam spreads around, more like a liquid, it is not ready and needs extra cooking time. However, if the jam is ready it will hold its form and gel immediately once in contact with the cold plate.

Always remember that the gel will thicken after it is completely cooled down, so avoid over cooking it if you don't want to end up with a thick fruit paste.

Add sugar according to your taste and the quality of the fruits you have in mind. You are not obliged to follow old school of jamming and add equal parts of fruit and sugar. Today is is pretty OK to break the rule of extra sweet jams and make more fruity and less sweet. In jam making it is very important how to sterilize and manipulate the jam once it is ready, to avoid dangerous mold.

It is OK if you want to keep the fruit pieces and avoid the processing part. In that case add the sugar and cook a little extra time to reduce the liquids a little more.

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