Friday, August 10, 2012

Greengage Jelly and Greengage Jam

Answers would be in the head but I couldn't write them faster on the paper to be able to get out of that hot and stuffy examination hall. Sweat would trickle down my back, breathing would get heavy and the desperation to finish writing the last paper of my final term exams would be immense. Not just because its all going to be over and school will be closed for the next two months but also because I could see those packed bags at home, that day long train journey to Nani's (grandma) house and those countless mango trees loaded with ripe, juicy mangoes in her huge garden.

Greengage jam and jelly
Summers would come and off we would go to Nani's to see all of my uncles, aunts and countless cousins. All of us wouldn't meet for the whole year but the moment we would see each other it felt like we has to pick from where we had left last summer. My mom's native house was almost a small mansion with big doors after doors, tall staircases leading into huge halls and rooms as big as our whole house. A few of those rooms were just stores, godam, we could call them and during summer those godams would be filled with mangoes. So many of them that the aroma would fill the whole house and also you from within.

Greengage jam with fennel seeds and cracked pepper.
For the next two months we would eat mangoes in all shapes, sizes and forms. Pickled with spices, pureed to make aam panna reduced to make jams and jellies and dried to make fruit leathers. I would be so overwhelmed with all of it that after a few days I would stop eating my favorite fruit through out my stay there. My brother never made that mistake and would relish their sweet and juicy goodness as much as he could. Now I wish I would have done the same because fate brought me so far away from those mangoes that now how hard I try I can't get that taste here in the foreign land. But fate did bring me closer to and introduced me to many new flavors which I hope is helping my daughter make her own memories.

When we moved to a new house last year, along with it we got a sweet gift of some fruit trees two of which are greengage tree. I had never before heard of the fruit and it was only when the fruits loaded the trees I started doing research I found that they are from the plum/plout family. I along with my few dear friends who couldn't escape receiving a weekly delivery of a box of greengages, was greatly surprised at how unbelievably juicy and delicious this fruit is. The outer skin is tangy and the inside is sweeter than sugar. Both the trees have been graced with fruits more than we, our neighbors or our friends could handle. So I have been doing the same what my aunts at my Nani's place would do to their mangoes. Cooking them to whatever shape, size and form I can. I have canned a lot of them in the past few weeks so today sharing two recipe with you. One of Greengage jam with fennel and black pepper and the other of Greengage Jelly. I started with approximately 8 quarts of chopped greengages. First I used the juice to make the jelly and then the remaining pulp for the jam. You can always discard the pulp if you do not want the jam or reduce the juice for longer time if you do not want to make the jelly.

 Recipe for Greengage Jelly:

8 quarts ripe greengages/green, yellow plums
4 1/2 cups cane sugar (This fruit is really sweet so asked for less sugar but if you are using some other less sweeter fruits then you might want to increase the amount of sugar)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 pouch (1 3/4 oz) fruit pectin (no sugar added)

Wash the greengages thoroughly. Core and cut one into 8-10 slices. If you like you can blanch and then take the skin off of the fruit. I was just too lazy to do it and it just helped the jam to be tangier which we love.
Transfer the sliced fruit into a large, non reactive vessel which has a thick bottom, a wide mouth and is not very deep. This should keep the fruit from crowding and would help an easy distribution of heat throughout and that in return reduces the cooking time. I used a vessel similar to this.
Turn on the heat and let the fruit simmer until they are soft and cooked well, for about 30-45 minutes. The fruit I used was really ripe and juicy so I did not have to add any water but if yours is firm you can just about 1/2-1 cup of water.
Strain the fruit through multiple layers of cheesecloth, a sheer white cotton piece of cloth or a strainer.
Transfer the juice into a pot again. Save the pulp for the jam.
Save 1/2 cup of sugar and add the rest to the the fruit juice. Mix well and turn on the heat. Then add rest of the sugar mixed in pectin.
Stir everything well together and bring the mixture to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Skim the foam formed on top.
Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-30 minutes. I follow these steps to check whether my jelly or jam is done.
Once it passes the "doneness" test, turn the heat off, add lemon juice and mix it well. Let it sit for 5 minutes before transferring into washed, dried and warm mason jars with air tight lids. I always let my jars run through a dishwasher cycle before I use then for canning. 

Recipe for Greengage Jam

Leftover pulp from the above recipe (Approximately 3 1/2-4 quart) Please keep in mind that this is cooked and reduced fruit. So if you are starting from scratch then I suggest you start with approximately 5 quarts of fresh fruit.)
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 tablespoon crushed black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 cup lemon juice

Heat oil in a thick bottom, non reactive pan preferably with a wide mouth (as linked above).
Add fennel seeds and cracked pepper. As they sputter add the fruit pulp with sugar.
Mix well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer for about 45 minutes- 1 hour.
To test if your chutney is done, take some in the back of your spoon and let it stay out in the air for about 10-15 seconds then run a finger through it.
Turn the heat off, add lemon juice and mix it well. Let it sit for 5 minutes before transferring into washed, dried and warm mason jars with air tight lids.


  1. I like what you wrote "...which I hope is helping my daughter make her own memories." :)

    Greengage, hmm interesting! Learning about it first time, just Googled up to know more.

    Really, vacations at Nani's place is always so much fun. I have very few memories though; used to go visit only once in 2 years.

    Can't relate to your examination tension. Because of staying up all night to study, I used to sleep in my exam room for the first hour, then write till last minute until proctor would pull my papers away :P

  2. Lovely memories and recipes! Those plums sound interesting... I'd love to taste both the jam and jelly.



  3. Memories of nani's place has always been the closest to the heart!! Heard about greengage for the first time.. Will be hopin on to google after this..

    Both the jam and jelly are making my taste buds tingle.. :P


  4. A trip down the memory lane.. Indian summers call mangoes in all names. And you are so right to making memories. our children have their own memories and I always used to feel that they will miss out on what we had.. until we went to India last year and I took them around and told them stories.. and then that feeling disappeared.. have settled down to accept that they won't miss my memories, we will have to make their own.

    lucky you to have loads of fruits from the yard. This looks lovely!

    I won't say a thing about exams.. fearing that I will have nightmares again :D

  5. I've never heard of greengage. Looks delish :)

    Welcome back, sweetie. Hang in there. I know, things are pretty hectic. xo

  6. Your summer memories are ditto mine! My grandmom kept mangoes covered in hay under the beds to ripen I will never forget their sweet smell :) have never tasted greengage but it sure looks delectable and the jam with the fennel and pepper sounds so intriguing!

  7. I have never heard of this fruit... but it certainly makes a wonderful jam and jelly! Lovely story.... your youth must have been magical. :)

  8. I had never heard of this fruit until your post. So thank you for the introduction:) Memories are such a great thing.. esp when they involve food! When I was a kid, my mom used to make amazing jams and jelly.. She doesn't do that anymore .. I guess it's my turn now to carry on the tradition:)

  9. Wow, greengages bring me back to when I was a child as my parents had a greengage tree at the very first house we lived at. I haven't had them since then. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Prerna. Your greengage jelly sounds wonderful.

  10. This is such a new fruit, have never heard of it before, am loving its name. Your summer vacations were so much like mine and I guess many other Indian kids...mangoes and train journeys...ahh

  11. no trip is complete till a visit to Nani's place :) so many memories...
    Love the post, never tried to make jelly / jam with greengage before, have bookmarked this!

  12. I just bought 11 pounds of sweet dark cherries and am going to make your cherry ginger chutney. It sounds wonderful. I'll try it with brown sugar since I don't have any jaggery. Can't wait to taste it!

  13. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


  14. Will be honest here..thought this was the (the designer ideas blog) and bumped in here. But I'm hooked and surely have added it to my favorites list. I'm more lured by the engaging pics..keep up the good work!!!

  15. I would like to tell you that I have never seen this fruit in my life. It seems to yummy in eating. I would have tried but I don't think I would be getting this fruit.

  16. Prerna,

    I don't usually comment on blogs unless I am really passionate about the topic and have something valuable to add. I'm commenting on your's for the first time because I am simply blown away by your passion for food, your creative edge in the kitchen, the lovely stories behind your recipes, and your seemingly natural flair for photography! If I hadn't known any better you photos look professional! Well done! So, enticed by your recipes, I went all out today and brought ingredients for several of your recipes - and the kulfi is sitting in my fridge right now!

    Keep up the awesome work!


  17. Greengage is not a new fruit -to the contrary,it is a very old type of plum and today you just don't see it very often.Sometimes at farmers markets.Your jam sounds lovely and how fortunate to have not one but two of these beautiful plum trees!

  18. Oh I can totally empathize with the loss of mangoes :) I am in 'the' land but still berate myself off and on, for not doing justice to them this summer. And now they are gone :(

    As usual, lovely pics. On this post and also on the latest one of the tomato chutney. The tomatoes look scrumptious the way they have been photographed!

  19. i love greengage! i actually never knew the name in english until now thanx to you! we call it "knar" :D

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