Jamming with Patti

Yahoo! editor Geetanjali Moorthy dons her chef's hat fairly often, much to the delight of the editorial team, who are always left licking fingers and bowls after every delectable meal. Actively participating in this season’s mango madness, Geet stirs up her grandmother’s recipe for a delicious mango jam.
 The more delectable of summer traditions at my grandmother’s was the making of mango jam, which began when I was around seven years old. Timed well such that my arrival coincided with that of the Alphonso mangoes in Bombay, the first fruit-seller to pass by was beckoned, haggled with and one kilo of precious, juicy mangoes were procured.

Next, amidst much supervision, standing on a stool in the kitchen with the most blunt knife, I got to cut and scoop out the flesh from the mangoes and keep it aside. When making it yourself, use any variety you like, as long as they’re sweet. Cut them into cubes, so that the pieces disintegrate into the syrup faster.

In a clean, deep pot that has enough room for whatever quantity of jam you plan to make, pour in about a litre of water.

 Mix in about 2 cups of sugar and stir the sugar granules till they have all dissolved.

Wait for it to come to a boil.

 Once the sugar syrup has boiled watch out for the scum that floats at the top, from impurities in the sugar. Scoop it out with a spoon.

Add a teaspoon of Vanilla essence to the syrup and mix thoroughly. Do not add too much more as it will make the syrup bitter.

 Slowly empty your mangoes into the pot of syrup and stir till the syrup is mixed well with mangoes.

 Add a pinch of cinnamon powder for just a hint of its flavor. Freshly ground is the best variety but straight out a box will do it too.
 Next a pinch of salt to balance all the sweetness from the sugar and the mango.

 A gentle squeeze of lime adds just enough of a zing to the jam.

Once this is done and left to stew, was my favourite part, the cleaning up. The peels from the mangoes would always be left mildly endowed with some of the pulpy flesh and it was my job to ensure it didn’t go to waste. So with renewed vigour, I attacked the peels and left them as dry as a bone before tossing it out.

Allow the mixture in the pot to simmer away till it is somewhat translucent and pulpy. Let it cool down before transferring to a glass or jam jar. This should last upto two months in the refrigerator, if you can leave it that long! Once the jam was made and cooled and stored in the jam pot, I had the glorious job of cleaning the pot up with a spoon and eventually my fingers. A tradition I dare not break, till date and one I assure you is quite enjoyable!