Following on from my last blog, where I described the magnificent Marula and its fruit, I couldn’t stop thinking about how incredible these fruits actually are, and how many different uses they have. These thoughts took me back to a fond memory during my guiding training, where a group of us had been tasked with collecting buckets of marula fruits to be used in the Londolozi kitchen, to make marula jam for the camps. After chatting with Dorence, we decided that we should make some for ourselves. Dorence had grown up making marula jam and was eager to teach me how it was done, and I couldn’t wait to learn from him.
Here is how my good friend and tracker, Dorence, makes delicious Marula jam.
1. Collect the fruit
We set off into the bush to collect the marula fruit. Marula trees are predominantly found on large open crests, so this in theory shouldn’t be difficult. However, with elephants and a few other animals loving the fruit too, we had to drive past a number of trees before finding one with enough fruit underneath. We decided that a five-litre bucket would be more than enough fruit in order to fill two jars of jam, one for each of us.
2. Wash the fruit
Once back at camp, we washed the fruit in order to rid them of any excess dirt and little insects that may have been attracted to the fruit.
3. Cut and boil the fruit
After washing the marula fruit, Dorence explained that before boiling the fruit, we needed to cut a few crosses on the fruit’s skin to maximise the extraction of their juices. This isn’t an exact science but it was just to expose some of the pulp on the inside of the fruit so that the flavour can seep out. We then boiled the fruit for about two hours, which is long enough to maximise the flavour before breaking down the skin or the rest of the fruit.
4. Strain the boiled water
We then strained the fruits from the liquid. The fruits have served their purpose at this stage and it is only the liquid we are after. So we discarded the fruits and only had the cloudy yellow liquid remaining in the pot.
5. Add sugar and simmer for a further two hours
We then added three cups of sugar (for three cups of marula water). Leaving the stove on low heat, let the water simmer for a further two hours, but Dorence reminded me that keeping an eye on the jam during this process is important to get rid of excess foam.
6. Once the liquid is a dark golden colour, you’re in business!
Further simmering should turn the liquid into a beautiful rich, dark gold colour, and the consistency will slowly transform into a jelly-like liquid. We then poured the jam into our jars and let them sit overnight.
7. Find some bread and ENJOY!
Once you have let the jars of jam sit for the night, grab a delicious ciabatta roll and enjoy your marula jam with your friends – Yum!
Making the marula jam was such an enjoyable experience. Dorence taught me a simple way of making some delicious jam that we can now share with our family and friends, and learning from him is something I will never tire of.
The opportunities are endless with Marula fruit.