Sunday, June 21, 2009

Viva! Anthocyanin -2-

The second batch was a big success. Yay! :D

After the disastrous attempt on the previous day, I told my parents, "I don't wanna see yamamomo any more. I'm making no more jam with them, at least this year. I mean it!" They grinned and said nothing, and I knew what that meant. There's one more yamamomo tree in dad's orchard where it's relatively flat ...

And I was right. On the next day, they came home late in the evening with another 5 to 6 kilograms of that anthocyanin-rich berries, and said, "Oh, it was just the perfect timing!" with big smile on their faces. Yeah, the berries are nice'n ripe. They look juicy. But what are you going to do with them? I'm not making jam any more!!!! Seeing the look on my face, mom rushed to the fridge to make some space in there and stored the berries neatly in it. Dad gave away about 1 kg of them to a relative. And they made puppy-eyes at me...

At 10:30 AM next morning, I found myself in front of a few big enamel pots, bunch of granulated sugar, a lemon and loads of that juicy berries. Mom was there to help.

First we made juice out of them, thinking that it would be a safe choice. Even if the juice wouldn't turn out great, it can be used for jelly or mousse. A few online recipes I found looked very similar; they said 1 kg yamamomo, granulated sugar (apx. 30 % of the weight of the berries) and a half lemon (sliced). All you need to do was to wash the berries, put all ingredients in a pot, add water just to cover them, cook for 5 minutes, cool and strain with a cloth. No-brainer. :)

The pink color of this cloth faded in a few days.

The juice was not anything great, IMHO, but not bad if properly thinned with cold water or soda water.

After lunch, mom and I started making jam. Yeah, jam. AGAIN. But by that time, my motivation was pretty high -- I wanted to improve and do a better job so that I can save my self-esteem.

And things went much better this time. Pitting was much easier with mom's help. We had fun checking each other's work to make sure no seed was left in the mash, and our fingertips were colored pink when we finished. This time I knew better about when to stop cooking. Of course no pectin was added. Actually, maybe because the berries were a different (bigger) variety, the jam started thickening much faster this time. :D

Look how much we made! But no problem. The jam turned out good enough to be given to friends and relatives, so we are going to give away the smaller jars. I made the labels myself, BTW.

See? The color of the second batch was just fine. (The real color was a little darker than this photo, but definitely not as dark as Worcestershire sauce.) I was worried about the texture because the mash wasn't strained through a strainer -- just processed in the blender like the last time. But it was no problem.

Here's a note for the future:

Yamamomo Jam Obachan's Version
2 kgs -- yamamomo
1070 g -- granulated sugar
5 to 6 drops -- juice of lemon from dad's orchard

* Dad's lemon was not as sour as store-bought ones.

So, thank goodness, my trauma was healed. And now I'm willing to make yamamomo jam in the future-- BUT NOT THIS YEAR! :O

Oh, and even the super-dark, ultra-viscous first batch is being consumed little by little. Just adding a little boiling water solved all the problem when it was used for these creations.

Baked Cottage Cheese Cake with Yamamomo Jam on Top

Yamamomo Jam Swirl Cake

There's a good reason why I'm not showing inside of this cake, but you're not supposed to ask.

* I don't think fresh yamamomo can be shipped to other countries from Japan. It goes off so fast and so easily. In addition, often some tiny worms are hiding inside between the long... I don't know what they are called, sacs? fibers?... and the worms could multiply even under refrigeration.

But the fruit is said to be good for health, being rich in anthocyanin and flavonoid.

Yamamomo on FoodistaYamamomo


Nellig said...

Dear Obachan,

Great post! Love your pictures. If you ever write a cookbook, I would totally buy a copy.

Your attitude to cooking is so inspiring and creative, and even your failures make funny anecdotes. I hope you realise how talented you are.

gardensgirl said...

I love how you don't allow any of your cooking "mishaps" to stop you from making them again. I tend to be so traumatized by my cooking failures that it can be years before I will attempt to make them again.

Love hearing about your dad's garden, your mom's "love" for frozen gyoza and your cooking adventures.

Lannae said...

What lovely berries, I have never seen berries like those before. They are so pretty! I hope life with your parents is going well.

K and S said...

yah for the second batch! I was telling my mom about your first batch and she was mentioning that either you had too much pectin in there or it was over boiled.

Anonymous said...

There you did it! Well done!!

Nicole said...

Obachan, just to let you know, in California the "Strawberry tree" (as the yamamomo is known) is fairly widely used in landscaping. We don't usually eat (or cook) with it but I have tasted it (and fed it to others). I remember it as fairly sweet and bland.

Am enjoying all of the blogging -so nice to get to hear how things are going and what you are doing. Have you found a new job? Are you looking? And have you reconnected with old friends? I find the thought of "moving home" very intriguing.

さなえakaさーに said...



Thank you for the great post as usual!

Aleanor said...

It looks super yummy! Makes my mouth water and am so curious to try! I wonder whether this fruit is the same as the one to make dried "梅 " that chinese likes.... Can't think of what it is called proper....

Anonymous said...

To aleanor, i think the chinese word you've written is "plum" in english.. haha. and i think it's different from bayberries. I wish i can try them too! The berries look so rough on the outside but the picture where obachan opened one up looked so soft on the inside.

Hwee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hwee said...

Hello Obachan,

I love your post! I used to eat canned Yamamomo fruits when I was growing up in Singapore. Singapore is a tropical country and I don't think Yamomomo trees can grow very well there. I have never tried fresh Yamamomo fruits, and is very curious as to how different their tastes and textures would be as compared to the canned fruits. Yamamomo is also known as 杨梅 in Chinese or Yumberry in modern English. I have seen them canned, dried or preserved in sugar, but never fresh. I was amazed when I first saw your pictures and to know your family has been harvesting fruits from the same tree (tree mentioned in part 1 of your post) for 2 generations. And after 2 generations, the tree still bears great fruits, that's great! Anyway, keep up the good work and keep posting!!!

obachan said...

Thanks, I'm flattered. Not sure if it's a creativety, but I do have this strong urge to somehow find a use for "failure," because I hate wasting food.

I often need a long break before I re-try certain thing that was not successful. But in case of this yamamomo, I just couldn't stand the idea of letting 5 kgs of them rot.

BTW, looks like mom is not interested in ordering frozen gyoza
any more. ;)

Thanks. Things are getting better now, and we may need to take a new step depending on the result of mom'a annual checkup in early July.

K & S;
I'm pretty sure that it was both. LOL

Thanks! :)

I'm afraid that strawberry tree is not the same thing as yamamomo. The berries look very similar, though.

No, I haven't found a job yet. There is a volunteer work that I'm interested in, and I'm waiting for further information to be announced, and then start looking for a part-time work that won't conflict.


We never dry yamamomo, and the chinese character you wrote means this type of plum in Japan, so I doubt if they are the same...

The inside of the berry is... yeah, soft, but not very soft, and fiber-rich.

Wow, canned yamamomo! I'm curious about what it is like, compared to the fresh one we have here. I bet conned ones are sweeter.

Our yamamomo trees do not always bear many fruits every year -- There are good years and bad years, and this year seems to be a good one.

Rinshinomori said...

The color of the jam look very nice. I wonder why it's called doesn't look like momo does it?

Nice labels you made for your jars too.

obachan said...

Some Japanese websites say that the ancient Japanese thought the berries looked like and tasted like peach, but it's hard to believe, isn't it? To me yamamomo and regular momo (peach) look completely different.

Thanks for mentioning the labels. Just in case: the illustration is not cat's pads and claws.

Dee said...

Hello Obachan

I have been following yr blog for almost 2 years now. Always interesting read.

Bravo on your successful second attempt on making the yamamomo jam! Sure inspires me to try again at my failed baking attempts. :-)


Grace said...

I can't believe no one asked. And when you say not to ask it makes me curious. I was hoping someone else would ask but no one did so... why can't you show the inside of the swirl cake? Sorry I just had to ask. It all looks so delicious. You are so productive!


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