I saw such a great movie this past weekend. It is called ‘Julie & Julia’ (available on Netflix) and it is based on a true story; A story about Julie Powell, who blogs about cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook “The fine art of French Cooking”. 524 recipes in 365 days. Her blog becomes a massive hit and eventually gets published as a book and made into a movie. You see my attraction to this whole story…? Ah, one can only hope;-)) Anyway, this movie and title of Julia Child’s cookbook were the inspiration for the title of my new blog: The fine art of making Marula Jelly.
The Marula trees in our yard
Our new garden at Malelane Gate is big. Very big! I estimate it roughly to be about 600 m2. And it has some stunning mature trees in it. A couple of Jackal berry’s, a Haak and Steek (poor Jack stepped into one of those long thorns the other day… Eina!), A Fever Tree and an Apple Leaf tree and then there are three Marula Trees. The two trees at our garage are carrying a lot of fruit at the moment. All day long we hear the ‘plok-plok’ of the fruit falling on the roof of our garage.
Did you know that there are male and female Marula trees? Only the female trees carry fruit. According to Marula.org.za, a single Marula tree can carry up to 500 kilograms of fruit! Our two female trees are definitely producing a lot! I will be making jelly till the cows come home! 😉 That is if the elephants don’t get to it because elephants looooove Marula fruit!
So far though, since we have been back from Holland the elephants have left our garden, veggies and Marula trees alone. We did have two young bulls hang around our front gate for a whole afternoon. It kind of looked like they were devising a plan to come and harvest some of the fruit and vegetables inside. I had a bit of a chat with the one youngster. In my mind, I had already said goodbye to my vegetable garden, but the next morning everything was still standing! Dankie tog!
Sal, the lovely lady who has been reading my blog from day one and that was the first person to ever leave me a comment, suggested I make some Marula Jelly. She even sent me a recipe! Thank you, Sal! For the last couple of days, I have been picking up the fallen Marula fruits every morning. I get about a bucket full each day! So, here the recipe and my first attempt to make my own Kruger Marula Jelly!
- Collect your Marula fruit and give them a good wash. Then make a cut in each fruit and let them soak in water overnight. Make sure you add some of the green fruits too. They have more pectin and that helps the jam to set.
- Put the soaked fruit into a large pot and just cover them with water. It needs to boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. Tip: Do not overfill your pot! I had to use three pots to boil all my fruit. I think I need a bigger pot if I want to do this on a regular basis;-)
- Strain the contents of the pot through a cheesecloth. I didn’t have cheesecloth so I used one of Jack’s old muslin cloths. I suppose any clean cloth will do. The juice will almost look like fresh orange juice!
- Wash out your pot and measure the juice. Then pour it back into the clean pot.
- Add white sugar: 1 cup of sugar for one cup of juice.
- Also, add the juice of one lemon for each liter of Marula juice.
- This mixture needs to boil rapidly for about 20 minutes until it reaches 105 degrees Celsius. I have a jam or sugar thermometer, so I used that. I had quite a large amount of juice to boil, so it took a bit longer than the recipe prescribes: about 35 minutes. If you do not have a thermometer, you can check by putting a few drops on a cold saucer. Allow it to cool and then push it with your finger to see if it wrinkles.
- Make sure you have enough space in your pot! The jam bubbles easily and might spill out. It needs to keep bubbling.
- Bottle the jelly in sterilized bottles, then leave to cool upside down, label and store them!
This is the first time I tried to make a jelly or jam and even though it is a bit time-consuming, I found it relatively easy. A lovely sweetish smell filled our kitchen and the end result tastes great! Sweet and a bit tart.
The Fine Art of Making Marula Jelly
So there you have it: The Fine Art of Making Marula Jelly. A bit of a different blog post than usual, but since quite a few people asked me for the recipe, I thought I would share. And I have to say I really enjoyed myself making this jelly with fresh Marula fruit from our garden, grown in real Kruger soil!
And, since I have Marula fruit up the wazoo and could potentially make about 100 jars of jelly, I would like to give some of my Marula Jelly away to 5 of my readers. The first one will, of course, go to Sal! The remaining four jars I would like to give to the first 4 readers to comment on this post. There is one catch though: You will have to be able to come and pick it up at our house at the gate! Gives me a chance to meet some of you! (Also because I can’t really afford courier costs at the moment… lol)