Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jabo-what?


I love Harris Farm. It's like a supermarket version of a deli in Sydney, stocked with all sorts of lovely foods, fresh or prepared. It's my mini haven to escape into and the minutes just fly by as I take my time to peruse the aisles. I like to come here to stock up on crusty ciabattas, wholemeal lebanese rounds, thick greek yoghurts, dried and fresh fruits, veggies*, nuts and the occasional soft, buttery brioche loaf or slice of gourmet cheese. Every now and then, there will be some new exotic looking produce that will pop up on the aisle. I love trying new things, so if the price is within reason, it will usually end up in my basket.

Dark purplish, ripe with juice and only at 4 dollars a punnet, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to try these. Jaboticabas are native to Brazil and is much likened to the grape. It has a tough, astringent skin which bursts delightfully to reveal its sweet, whitish, half translucent flesh. The seeds, if present, are soft and yielding and can be crunched through easily. Tastewise, the jaboticaba reminds me somewhat of a cross between a mangosteen and logan. Go figure.

Other than eating these fresh, these are apparently frequently used in jams or drinks. I immediately knew what I wanted to use these for - a peanut butter and jaboticaba-jelly sandwich. I've been craving for a PBJ sandwich for some time now and the mere thought of the deliciously salty, crunchy peanuts melding with the sweetness of the jelly had me practically tripping over to the kitchen to get started on the jam.



The skin of the jaboticaba has a lot of tanins and can impart a bitter taste, but the acid in the citrus helps cut through it somewhat. I used orange in place of lime since that was all I had on hand and it turned out beautiful too, although I was a little stronghanded on the orange. All that's left to do now is to simply slather it on a thick slice of mixed grain toast with a good helping of crunchy peanut butter. Now that's comfort food.

Jaboticaba Jam
A batch of jaboticabas
Sugar
Limes

Place the jaboticabas in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the fruit and bring to boil, then reduce the heat. Let it simmer for about half an hour to an hour, making sure it does not become too dry. Remove from heat and strain the liquid to get rid of the skins and seeds.

Whatever amount of jaboticaba juice you end up with, add an equal amount of sugar and the zest and juice of the limes to taste. Place the saucepan on a low heat to dissolve the sugar and heat until the jam coats the back of a spoon thickly. Remove from heat and place into sterilized jars.

*I'm trying to shift most of my fresh veggies and fruit purchases now to the little local grocerer though. For one, the produce is usually fresher and picked closer to the ripening stage since they are grown in closer proximity, and two, it helps minimize the amount of energy consumption with the reduced transportation.

6 comments:

Y said...

I had jaboticabas the last time they were in season, and thought they were a bit meh. Great idea, turning it into jam. The resulting colour looks fantastic.

coco said...

They are locally called jambuns and are in season in spring in India.They are one of my favourite things. In fact there is also anther kind of jambun which is totally purple from the inside.

Cynthia said...

oh wow, so how do you normally have it in india? i think i still prefer it fresh, though like y., i'm not too crazy about their flavour either.

Susan said...

I'd like to try these. I'll bet they are bursting with antioxidants given the tannin levels. Thanks for the intro. I wonder if I'll ever find them here.

Cynthia said...

i certainly hope you'll be able to find them Susan! i think any kind of fruit should be nutritious in their natural state (that's how i prefer to have my fruit mostly anyway)! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,
In which Harris Farm did you find the Jaboticabas here in Sydney?
Thanks
Barney