What do you do when life gives you papayas? More papayas than you can just eat? I made some jam! My husband and I love papaya, but our daughter will not even come near one. She will tolerate cooked unripe papaya but ripe papaya is just not her thing.
One of the many advantages of living in a sub-tropical climate is that papayas grow here almost throughout the year.
The other day, I had just brought home a couple of papayas from the market when my friendly neighbourhood vegetable selling lady decided to knock on our door. It turned out that she had a basket full of papayas to sell.
She told me a long story about how she knew we loved papaya and she had especially brought some just so we could buy them off her. I tried to explain to her that we already had two, that there were just three of us in the house, and there was only so much papaya we could eat at any given time!
The outcome of all this conversation, partially in Konkani (which I understand but do not speak too well) and partially in Hindi and sign language was that I was left holding one more very big papaya!
Now I had 3 papayas of varying sizes, and it seemed like they were all competing for first place in the "Who gets ripe first and fastest?" competition!!!
So we ate one papaya and the other two got bottled as jam.
I didn't use any particular recipe and really just winged it as I went. These are the proportions I used, but feel free to adjust the sugar (and everything else to your taste) depending on how sweet your papaya is.
5 cups papaya purée
2 cups demerara or brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup mango juice
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp agar flakes
1 tsp garam masala powder
To make papaya purée, peel the papaya (s), remove the seed and the "thready" central part and chop them up. Then liquidize/ blend the chopped papaya with the orange and mango juices.
In a deep and heavy bottomed pan, put the papaya purée, the sugar, salt and chili flakes and bring to a boil. Now turn down the heat, and let the papaya mixture thicken while stirring occasionally making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
In the meanwhile soak the agar flakes in about 2 tbsp of water.
Once the jam has thickened quite a bit, add the soaked agar flakes (with the water) and the garam masala.
Mix well and allow the jam to thicken a little further (another 10 minutes on the stove. Cool completely and bottle in sterilized jars.
This recipe gave me 2 small jars of papaya jam.
Updated (16th October, 2009):
The comments at this post made me realise I have missed out on a couple of things. I added the agar flakes to the jam to thicken the jam a little. You could omit that if you choose, or add pectin as is done with a lot of jams.
The chilli flakes and the garam masala don not make this jam "spicy" or "hot". In the quantity used, they just balance out the sweetness and lend a warmth and flavour to the jam with a faint "spicy" note.