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Food Friday: Carrot Jam

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Summary: Carrot Jam is a colorful and delicious part of a heartfelt autumn. You can cook this recipe to experience it for yourself. 

Carrots can be found in any grocery store year round. However, the best time to enjoy right-off-the-field carrots is in summer and fall. This root vegetable is quite versatile in consumption; they can be enjoyed in salads or even as a snack in raw form. Cooked, boiled, or even steamed, carrots are widely used in different soups, stews and served as sides to a variety of poultry and meat.
When I was growing up, having breakfast everyday with the family was a ritual that I enjoyed a lot. A spread filled with colorful, flavorful and aromatic ingredients that awakened my senses: hot flatbread fresh from bakery, white cheese with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, walnuts followed by garden herbs like basil and mint and of course a block of rich yellow butter with carrot jam, sour cherry preserve, and regional honey. To this day, I consider breakfast as the best course of the meal.
In the Persian cuisine, carrot jam is as common as strawberry preserve in the western cuisine. Want in to a fun fact? The use of jam is not only limited to breakfast table. In many parts of Iran, small servings of various jams and preserves – most favorably – carrot and quince jam are present on the table. Accoridng to an old belief, consuming sweets like carrot jam after a rich meal aids the digestion. Whether it is scientifically true or not is not for me to answer. But enjoying a delicious and comforting taste of a dessert-like jam after a delectable dish will double the joy of eating good food

 

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Prep time: 15 min.

Cook time: 2 hrs.

Ready in: 2hr. & 15 min.

Level: Easy

 

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Ingredients
1 lb. carrots, peeled and grated
1 lb. sugar
¼ cup rosewater
6-8 cardamom pods, seeds removed for use
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sliced pistachio for garnish (optional)

 

Directions:
1. Place the grated carrot in a pot over medium heat and cover. Allow the carrots to become tender while steaming for about 30 minutes. The color will turn deeper.
2. Add sugar, water, rosewater and cardamom seeds along with enough water to cover the carrots. There are two options in using cardamom seeds: the seeds can be used as whole in the jam if you don’t mind chewing occasionally on the super aromatic seeds. If the somewhat hard seeds are too much for you, consider grounding the seeds. Now using the grounded cardamom will affect the jam color and will turn it dull. So, soak the grounded cardamom in the rosewater for 30 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer to add the cardamom infused rosewater to the cooking jam.

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3. Allow the syrup to thicken a little bit. Then add freshly squeezed lemon juice. The addition of lemon juice not only balances out the sweetness, it helps the jam from going bad and getting moldy. After 2 hours of slow cooking over medium heat with the lid put on sideway, the jam is ready.
Let the carrot jam cool off in the pot. It is important to remove the lid; otherwise the sweat dripping back down into the jam during cooling period will result in mold appearance later. The pot can be covered with a kitchen cloth to prevent anything from getting into it. After it has completely lost heat, transfer to sterile jars. Noosh-e jān!