Return to Mali during the height of the mango season (Sustainable Sheep Production, Farmer-to Farmer,Winrock-USAID, Jun 2013): The first day back to Bamako, Mali involved preparation for the assignment with sheep producers and also a demonstration by Bara during lunch on jam making. With over 50 varieties of Mangos, early June is the perfect time to visit Mali and sample the mangos, guavas, oranges and other fresh fruits. Mangos vary in color and sweetness. When choosing you mangos, whether here or at home, take a moment to smell for sweetness. A ripe mango will have a delicate, sweet smell and the flesh will feel uniformly soft.
In Mali, the Kent, Keith and Amelie varieties are especially desirable as they have minimum fiber and very sweet flesh. With imported mangos some taste tests and experimentation may be required. Mangos with a higher content of fiber are great for eating but the varieties low in fiber almost melt with sweetness when sliced from the stone. When served fresh, immediately sliced, the pulp appears enhanced with light syrup but this is just their natural expression.
Mango Jam Mali
1 large or 2 medium mangos. (1 large mango will fill 1 medium to large jar)
Equal part of sugar to flesh (preferably by weight)
1 Tb of lemon juice or Citric Acid if desired as a preservative and taste.
- Large pan
- Blender or strainer
- Large wood agitator (spoon) Use of a metal spoon in a metal pan may cause the mixture to darken.
- Wash then peel mango(s)
- Slice the flesh from the stone and hand dice before using a strainer or substitute a blender. Hold back some diced mango if a chunkier jam is desired.
- Weigh pulp to determine amount of sugar to be added.
- Heat pulp stirring constantly to prevent burning until soft
- When thoroughly hot and soft add an equal amount of sugar by weight or follow a Bara’s more precise method as described below.
- Add dice mango pulp or raisins if desired.
- Add the lemon juice or citric acid if desired.
- Continue cooking a short time until desired level of consistency. Overcooking will produce a thick, unspreadable mixable. Undercooking will likely cause water and pulp to separate when cooled.
- Immediately pour into sterile jars and cover.
If your sugar ration is near 1 to 1 and you use sterile, covered containers it should keep for approximately 6 months. A lower sugar ratio will lessen the shelf life.
If refrigerated the jam should last a year unopened but it is more fun to eat it quickly!
Refractometer: Bara’s Alternative Method of Determining Sugar Level:
Use a refractometer to measure Brix level of sugar in the pulp. In this example sugar measured at 13% Reduce sugar amount by 2 x 13% or a little more if a less sweet jam is desired.
When heating mixture of pulp and sugar again measure bx level. When it mixture reaches approximately 65-76% jam will be stable and done.
If a sample of the desired sweetness level is available, again, the refractometer can be used to target the sugar level to match exactly (e.g. if you favorite preserve measures 72% bx target this percentage for the mango jam).