Quandong Jam Recipe – Discover the Lost Art

A spoonful of jam is more than just a sugary treat. It’s a slice of culture, a dash of history, and a spoonful of memories all rolled into one. As a culinary-focused news reporter, I’m taking you on a culinary safari today that isn’t just about food.

It’s a history lesson, a tribute to First Nations’ culinary art, and a testament to how diverse Australian cuisine can be. We’re talking about Quandong Jam—a mouthwatering preserve that is resurging in popularity among chefs and home cooks alike.

Quandong Jam Recipe – A Culinary Heirloom

The Quandong is an indigenous Australian fruit with a tart, peach-like flavor, traditionally used by First Nations peoples. Pair it with unique spices like lemon myrtle, cinnamon myrtle, or anise myrtle, and you’ve got a jam that’s a rich tapestry of flavors and a tribute to ancient food culture.

Ingredients:

  • Quandongs: 1kg, halved and seeds removed (save the seeds)
  • Orange Juice: 2 cups (500ml)
  • Caster Sugar: 750g
  • Optional: Native spices like lemon myrtle, cinnamon myrtle, or anise myrtle leaves (4-6 leaves)

Method:

Step 1: Prepping the Star Ingredient

Place the quandong halves in a wide, heavy-based saucepan and cover them with orange juice. If the juice doesn’t cover the fruit, top it up with water. Let it sit for up to an hour, akin to marinating meat or allowing dough to rise—a crucial step for maximum flavor extraction.

Step 2: Sugar Rush

Heat the sugar in a microwave or a low oven until warm to the touch. In politics and cooking, timing is everything. Warming the sugar helps it to dissolve faster, speeding up the cooking process.

Step 3: The Sweet Merge

Transfer the softened quandongs and juice into a saucepan. Place it over low heat and add the warm sugar gradually, stirring to dissolve. The key here is a ‘rapid boil.’ Once the sugar dissolves, bring the concoction to a rapid boil for 10 minutes. Remember, constant stirring is essential to prevent sticking and to ensure your jam achieves that coveted spreadable consistency.

Step 4: The Final Touch

After boiling, let the jam cool for about 10 minutes. If you’ve added native spices, this is the time to remove them. Once the jam is cool, pour it into sterilized jars. Store these jars of cultural heritage in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Pro Tips:

  • Rehydrate dried fruit in water for a few hours before cooking.
  • If you’re using frozen quandongs, you won’t need as much liquid during cooking, as the fruit will release water as it thaws.
  • If you prefer a sweeter jam, a golden rule is to use the same weight of sugar as fruit.

Beyond Just a Recipe

Quandong jam isn’t just another pantry item; it’s a symbol of indigenous culture, botanical biodiversity, and a beacon for sustainable cooking practices. In our often divisive world, where conversations can escalate into debates and disagreements, let’s take a leaf out of this jam recipe that harmoniously blends ingredients, traditions, and flavors. After all, the culinary world is proof that when we blend, we create something far richer than the sum of its parts.

Author’s Note: This article isn’t merely a recipe; it’s an invitation to connect with ancient culinary wisdom. As we venture into making this Quandong jam, let’s also venture into embracing the unity that food can bring, transcending geographical and cultural barriers.