Isn’t it great to eat and sell fresh fruit right from the tree?
But unless some of the fruit is processed and stored properly, half of it will rot on the ground or in the market.
Processing fruit is a good way to store some of its nutrients. It is also a good way to eat and sell fruit year round.
There are many things that you can make with fruit. You can make juice, jams, pickles, wine, and vinegar from mangoes, papayas, bananas or other kinds of fruits. Whether you make jam, juice or pickles the processing steps are almost the same.
Today we’re going to describe how to make jam in a few easy steps.
- To begin, choose only high quality, ripe fruit. If you throw in some fruit that is overripe or of poor quality, the entire batch can be ruined. And if your batch of jam tastes bad no one will want to buy it.
- Wash all the fruit in clean water. You will need large amounts of clean water when processing fruit. If the water is not clean you will have to find some way to purify it.
- Next, peel and slice the fruit. Make sure the pieces are all the same size. Remove all the stones, seeds or pits. Put the fruit pieces in clean bowls. Use wooden, clay, plastic, stainless steel, or enamelled bowls and utensils only. Do not use copper,brass, or iron pots because the acid in the fruit will react with these metals and spoil the jam.
- Crush the fruit pieces with a clean masher or a fruit press.
- Now it is time to add sugar and other ingredients. Sugar helps to preserve the jam for a long time. The amount of sugar you add will depend on the recipe you are using. As a general rule add about 4 parts of sugar to every 6 parts of fruit. Now is also the time to add citric acid or pectin if you plan to do so. Citric acid and pectin help jam to jell properly. You can extract pectin from the skins and pips of some citrus fruits and passion fruit. Just boil the skins in water. The sticky pectin will float to the top and you can strain it out of the water. This should be done ahead of time.
- Bring the fruit mixture to a boil to concentrate the sugar to the right level. Boil the mixture in a stainless steel, aluminum, enamelled metal or clay pot over the stove. Stir the mixture constantly so it does not burn. This is important because jam burns easily if you don’t keep stirring it.
- After heating you may want to do a taste test to make sure the jam has a good flavour. If you want customers to keep buying the jam, check it to make sure it is safe and of good quality.
- You will need some glass jars or bottles for the jam. Because new glass jars can be expensive and hard to find, you may want to try and find some recycled glass jars to put your jam in. But be sure to inspect and clean recycled glass jars carefully. If you put jam in a dirty or cracked jar it will spoil quickly.
- Wash the jars and their lids well. Put the clean jars and the lids in a pot with clean, cold water. Then put the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. This process is called sterilization and it kills any mould and bacteria in the containers.
- Use a funnel to pour the hot jam slowly into the hot containers until they are full. Filling the jars to the very top keeps air out. Keeping air out will make the jam keep a long time. Make sure that the lids on your jars are sealed properly. If any air gets into the jar the jam will spoil quickly. Use only new screw or push on lids or paraffin wax to seal the jars. Let the jars cool down.
- You may want to put labels on the containers to identify and decorate the containers. Decorative labels or a circle of bright fabric tied over the lid can attract customers. Store the jars in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. The jam will keep for many months.
Let’s repeat the seven steps for jam making.
- Select firm, fresh, fruit.
- Wash the fruit.
- Peel and slice the fruit
- Crush the fruit
- Add sugar, citric acid and pectin.
- Heat the fruit mixture.
- Package and label your jam.
Remember that good quality products will improve your reputation and business!
To make mango jam you will need mangoes, sugar, lemon juice, and water. You will also need some utensils a pot, a spoon, and empty jam bottles with their tops.
First, select good, firm, fruit which is ripe but not overipe. You must also make sure that the fruit is fresh. Look over the fruits carefully, one by one. Some of them may be bruised and damaged. Cut away the spoiled parts. If any of the mangoes are too soft or too ripe do not use them for making jam.
After you have looked at the mangoes, put them in a clean dish. Gently pour clean water on the mangoes. Wash them gently and carefully. Never wash the fruit in hot water. Hot water makes mangoes soften too soon. Keep flies away.
Start to cook the jam as soon as the fruit has been washed, stoned, peeled and cut up. It is not good to prepare the fruit and leave it until you come back from the fields. The fruit will lose its good colour and flavour.
First, cook the small pieces of mango with a little water. Cooking the mango with a little water will improve stringy mangoes and make them soft. Secondly, add juice of one lemon to the mixture. Cook until the jam is soft. When done, take the pot off the fire.
Now sweeten the jam with sugar. Add five cups of sugar to every six cups of mango. Now put the pot back on the fire. Heat it gently until the mixture begins to boil. Stir often using the wooden spoon. If you do not stir, the fruit and the sugar will stick to the bottom of the pot and the jam will burn.
The jam is ready when it is thick. You will be able to tell that the jam is thick enough by taking a spoonful and leaving it to cool. If the surface of the jam sample wrinkles when you push it with a finger, the jam is ready. If it is not thick enough leave it to cook a while longer. When the jam is ready you can bottle it in clean, sterilised bottles or jars.
You can eat this jam as soon as it is cool, or you can keep it for many days and weeks in a sealed container.
You will be successful in making jam if you follow these rules. Always use fresh, firm fruits.
Cook jam in small quantities rather than in large quantities.
Do not leave the jam on the fire and go to the fields.
Stir the jam frequently; the jam can burn easily.
Sterilise the containers in order to preserve the jam for a long time.
Do not put hot jam in cold containers because this could be dangerous. After sterilising them add the jam while both jam and bottles are hot.
The production of this script was made possible with the generous support of Nancy’s Very Own Foundation.
Fruit and vegetable processing, 1987, 67 pages. Published by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) with the collaboration of the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG). Available from UNIFEM, 304 East 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017, U.S.A.
Fruits and simple jam recipes, Dr. Ines P. Grainger, Adult Education Project l (l986), University of Zimbabwe, Harare,Zimbabwe. Dr. Grainger can be contacted at P.O. Box HG l8, Highlands, Harare, Zimbabwe.