I love the energy Nairobi exudes in the evening. I get energized by the fast moving crowds and by the soft glow of dusk. The city really comes alive after dark! By 7 p.m, the sidewalks are crowded with hawkers selling all kinds of things, from wallets to clothes, to shoes, watches, to fruits and vegetables. Some people may consider this a nuisance, but to me it is part of what gives Nairobi its character and benevolence. During these times, my eyes are usually fixed on the ground. I eye all the merchandise laid before me, hoping that I would land on a good bargain. After getting a (really!!!) good pair of thrifted shoes, I then bought some fruits before finally heading home. Among them were tree tomatoes, which I had been searching hard for and finally found on the streets of Nairobi! I ate most of them (duh!!) and with those that remained, I decided to make a jam together with the grapes I had purchased that evening. Guys, this one you have to try out!
PREP TIME: 5 MIN MAKE TIME: 60 MIN
3 tree tomato
2 cups of grapes
6 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
NOTE: I know someone it thinking: those are blueberries. Well, they are not. These are the grape variety grown in Kenya. They are larger than blue berries. Blue berries have a very prominent fruit scar at the base of each berry, but grapes do not (see above pic). They have smooth skin through out the entire fruit. They may look like blue berries, but are not even close, be it in appearance, taste or everything else. Lastly, blueberries do not naturally grow in Sub-Saharan countries, if they are available, they are imported and are crazy expensive. These grapes are home grown and are so cheap ( between $0.20- $1.00 a bunch).
Slice your tree tomatoes and put them in a sufuria together with your grapes, sugar, lemon juice and 1 cup of water. The water you use for your fruits should not be excessive. Kenyans have a tendency of pouring water, literally, into everything. Do not turn your fruit pulp into aquatic plants,no child! Let your water just cover your fruits.
Allow this to simmer for about 30 – 60 minutes. The time will of course vary according to the fruit you are using, how you cut them and their quantities. Since I added my grapes whole, it took a bit longer for then to burst then cook down. Do not rush the process though. You want everything to really come together.
After about an hour, it looked like this. No food color was added to this, how awesome it that!! To know whether your jam is ready, take some form your sufuria and just place it on a plate that has been sitting in your freezer for some time. If it wrinkles at its edges, then it is ready to be taken out.
Once done turn off the heat and allow it to cool down and store in a jar.
For the jar you use ensure you sterilize it/them. To sterilize your jam jar, put it in a sufuria with water and bring to a boil and keep it at maximum temperature for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can place your jars in an oven and 140 degrees or 120 degrees. The sterilization is important since it gets rid of any bacteria or fungi which may prevent your jam from staying fresh for longer.
I love making my own jam at home since I have the freedom to decide exactly how much sugar I can have in mine. It has no preservatives, colorants and you can try our a combination of different fruits. Pineapple and grape? Or Passion fruit and strawberry? Or perhaps lime and mango? I have a feeling I would like lime and mango, so I will try that next. We all should :))
You can also use tree tomato for making sauces, syrups, marinades etc! The list is endless. I encourage you to go outside what you are used to and discover all that is out there.
To many more!
Get your downloadable recipe here :))
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This looks delish! I’ve been wondering how to make my own jam… Thanks for the recipe:-)
That is a lovely jar. Where might one purchase one like it?
Thank you! There are two shops next to the Koja Mosque that sell plastic jars wholesale-Asami ltd and the polythene shop. They sell wholesale and have wide variety
Thanks for the simple step by step instructions. I love the Kenyanized warnings. It helps ring the danger “overdoing-it-bells”. Funny too. Awesome!
Kenyans love water in everything. Ata sio soup, water! 😀 Anyway, I am glad you got the point and that you will apply it in your cooking :))
I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and I’m thrilled. your recipes are simple and delish. I’ve tried a couple. question about the jam – can i not use grapes and only use the tree tomato? also, i bough a lot of tree tomatoes – about a kilo’; what should my sugar/lemon/ be?
I unfortunately do not know the propotions for mass quantities. I do not make my jams in massive quantities. Also eliminating grapes will alter the entire sugar/lemon ratio. What you are making is an entirely new recipe. I would advice you to just try out different quantities until you land on one that works for you. It is totally ok to ask for guidance but when I do not have all the answers, experiment until you get it right.
That’s a lovely recipe. How long does the jam stay without going bad? Do you have to store it in the fridge? Can one also use jaggery instead of sugar?
You have to refrigerate it. Remember, this jam does not have preservatives.
sorry meant what would be the sugar/lemon proportions for about a kilo of tree tomato.
Thankyou for this Kaluhi I learnt to cook sardines through your recipes and for more local dishes I refer to this kitchen.
Its also Kenyan-like to add everything in one pot and let it simmer as illustrated ama namna gani.
Follow the instructions and cook as stated. Do not simmer in one pot if I did not say so