Cherry Laurel sun-cooked marmalade

August 20th, 2018 § 0

Cherry Laurel or Prunus laurocerasus is a fruit native to the Black Sea region of Turkey. It is naturally grown especially in North Anatolia and Northern Aegean coast.

It is an evergreen shrub or small tree and the leaves are dark green.The cherry laurel tree is a valuable ornamental plant for its attractive dark and evergreen leaves, and clusters of white flowers in the spring. The tree has pleasant fruits when fully ripe, which became a valuable and popular fruit in the recent years. Seeds of cherry laurel are easily spreading by birds. The cherry laurel fruit is a small, turning red to black when it ripes.

It is mostly found as fresh fruit in local markets, and the fruit is used in making marmalades, cakes and pekmez -especially consumed by locals- as well as it is eaten as dried. As it is a natural antioxidant, for its health benefit, the market value has increased in Turkey.

This recipe is from my beloved sister.

  • 1 kg cherry laurel
  • 700 gr water
  • 750 gr sugar
  • 1/2 fresh lemon juice

Wash the cherry laurels.

Put 700 gr water into a pan and boil. When it comes to boiling point add the washed cherry laurels in it.

Boil them until the cherry laurels soften, about half an hour. Put the aside to cool.

Before pressing put your kitchen gloves and don’t panic! This will be a bit messy!!

Press the softened cherry laurels by hand and a sieve to mash them until you get a beautiful scarlet coloured puree.

Put the puree into a pan, add the sugar and simmer until it thickens. Before taking it from oven, add the 1 t.lemon juice and simmer for another 5 minutes. Fresh lemon juice adds pectin and acidity to the marmalade and help it to gel.

If you overcook your marmalade, the sugar will caramelize and the colour spoils. For that reason it is better to undercook it.

Then allow the pan in the direct sun, to stand several days by covering it with a cheesecloth, until the syrup thickens and forms jelly like consistency without changing the beautiful colour.

Sterilize the jars by running them through the dishwasher.

Put the marmalade in jars.

Bergamot jam

March 11th, 2014 § 0

I came across to find bergamot fruit at the market and of course it is jam season, I bought them. At least, begamot fruits are not coated with orange dye, to make them more attractive to consumers.
Bergamot is usually the size of an orange, but has a yellow to orange colour when matured.

Some of the benefits are: aids in digestion, is a good anti depressant as well as helping in curing and preventing infections.

  • 5 bergamot oranges
  • 2 T  bergamot juices
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 350 gr sugar

Wash bergamot fruits and smooth away the zest.

Cut one bergamot orange in half and squeeze it to get the juice.

If possible, tie some pips in a fine muslin (later to remove them easily).

Cut the bergamot orange halve rinds into slices.

Roll each slice and sew from both edges with a sewing needle, string them all. Make a necklace from them.

In a large stockpot, boil the rolled bergamot with enough water for at least an hour to macerate.

Remove them from the stockpot.

Put 1 1/2 cups of water and sugar into a pan and bring to a boil.

When the syrup is dense enough, add the bergamot juice and the seeds.

Then put the bergamot necklaces into the pan.

Heat slowly by strring occasionally and let boil all together.

Cook at least 40 minutes over medium heat.

Skim off foam, when necessary.

When it congeals instead of trickle from the spoon, the jam reaches the setting point.

Continue cooking, until it reaches the jelling point. Remove the muslin with pips that you stringed before.

Sterilize the jars in dish washer before and ladle the jam into the jars by the help of a wooden spoon.

Label the jars and spoon on morning breads!

You can find a similar bergamot recipe from here.

Peach and lemon jam

September 16th, 2012 § 0

Traditional preparations for winter that extended from Ottoman period to each kitchen of the villages of Turkey, take place in a festival atmosphere these days. We make winter preparations with solidarity to each other that, time to time our kitchens turn to a social place. Jams or fruit syrups that cooked in season, stored in special glass jars take their places either on the shelves or in deep freezers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Before the peach season ends, I made a fast cooked peach jam with lemon. This way, the fruit maintains its natural character like its flavour, perfume and colour. It stays up to 12 months in the freezer.

It can also be used as a base for ice cream, tart or crostata.

  • 1,5 kg peach (stoned)
  • 250 gr sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup  white wine (preferably young dry white wine)
  • Halve the peaches and stone them.  Peel and slice into pieces.

    Slice the lemon with rind.

    Put the sliced peaches and lemon slices in a saucepan. Add sugar and white wine.

    Close the lid of the pan and let sit at least one hour.

    Bring to a boil and cook for 25 minutes.

    Take out the peaches and lemon from the pan.

    Cook the syrup for another 10 minutes until it thickens.

    Put the peaches and lemon slices back into the syrup and let it cool.

    When cool, scrape it into a jar or a container.

    Cover and refrigerate.

    It will keep for a week in the refrigerator and a year in the deep freezer.

    Strawberry sauce

    July 1st, 2012 § 0

    For an easy strawberry sauce all you need is a red, fragrant and firm strawberry.

    Make sure the green caps are attached and not be brown. Don’t forget to check the underside of the container to make sure no squashed strawberries.

    Wash them immediately before using and remove the green caps.

  • 1 kg strawberry
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • Place the strawberries in a food processor. Add sugar and blend until they are pureed. Add lemon juice to taste.

    Store in a covered jar and refrigerate.

    Apricot purée

    June 29th, 2012 § 0

    Sweet, fragrant rich, golden orange apricot fruits -which the eastern province of  Malatya produces the highest quality- are one of the summer delicacies.

    This fruit is rich source of dietary fiber, antioxidant, enriched with vitamins and can be preserved as concentrate purée.

    Make your own healthy concentrate and use as a fresh apricot jam or stir into yogurt or spoon onto a toast!

  • 1 kg apricot
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Halve the apricots and stone them.

    Put water in a saucepan. Add the apricots with sugar and bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.

    Cook over low heat (otherwise they will burn) until the apricots are soft and pulpy.

    Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pan.

    When cool, scrape the purée into a jar or a container.

    Optionally add 1/4 cup almonds (cut with a vegetable peeler) and stir into the purée.

    Cover and refrigerate.

    It will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.

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