After various experiments, I have now worked out a recipes that I am happy with so I am Pleased to announce that Jaboticabah Jelly is now in our range in small supply. It is a beautiful colour and has a light fruity taste reminiscent of grapes and kiwifruit. We suggest you use it with cheese.
Recently I was contacted, out of the blue, by a lady offering to sell me some of her jaboticaba crop. Apparently she had seen an article about me in the local paper (thanks Ann Kirby of the Valley Weekender). I said I had heard of jaboticabas but never even eaten one, let alone cooked one. She assured me that they made a beautiful jelly and that locals of German descent regularly ate it with their German style wurst.
Well “nothing ventured, nothing gained “. What a win for Gecko Grove -amazing exotic fruit to make a unique jelly. I meet the lady, picked up bags of fruit and headed back home to do some research. I found nothing in any of my recipe books so I tried the internet. Jaboticabas are native to South America. These strange purple marble sized fruit grow directly on the trunk and branches. They have a tough skin which pops in your mouth as you bite it releasing a delicate grape- like centre and seeds.
I found a number of recipes. The most helpful was Marianna in her blog (http://thrumykitchenwindow.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/jaboticaba-jelly). I cooked the fruit in water, blended it and strained it in a jelly bag. The resulting liquid smelt nice and was a beautiful colour. Gecko Grove scores! I tasted it. It was incredibly bitter! Marianna had mentioned her jelly was tangy but this was bitter and there was no way that addding sugar would make this palitable. The score no longer looked as good. Jabotibas 1; Gecko Grove nil.
I went back to the computer. One recipe said don’t cook it too long or it would be bitter, another suggested that the bitterness come from the skins. I tried again. This time I only simmered the fruit for a short while. I used a potato masher rather then a blender and hopefully poured the second batch into the jelly bag to strain. The liquid dripped out thickly. It was an incredible dark purple colour. Was this a win? Nope. Once again it was tongue twitchingly bitter. Jaboticabas win again.
Having got this far, I decided to add sugar and make the jelly. Maybe sugar would make a difference? I measured out a couple of cups of liquid and cooked it in a little pot just as an experiment. Do you know that when one is used to cooking by the kilo that you have to be very careful when only cooking by the cup? Things happen much more quickly. The jelly soon came to the boil and was thickening nicely. I tested the temperature – 102 – needs to cook some more. I left it briefly and returned minutes lately to a pot of bubbly purple toffee. No point bottling it – I poured it into a metal bowl where it cooled into a rubbery purple bitter goo. Jaboticabas 3 ; Gecko Grove nil.
I looked at the remaining purple liquid. Bitter taste but such a fantastic colour so I poured it into an empy milk bottle and set it on the window ledge. I would use it to dye some fabric. Nothing wasted here. Gecko Grove scores at last!
The next morning I went to retrieved my dye only to find an almost empty bottle on the ledge and a purple wall and floor below. It had leaked out a tiny crack in the bottle over night. Purple footprints on the concrete showed that a gecko and a possum had come for a look and left. Did they find it bitter too? I have put the rest of the offending fruit in the freezer to have a think. Gecko Grove admits defeat. Unless someone out there can help?