I have never tried to make carrot jam, as the ones I have tasted were sickly sweet, lacking any aroma or distinctive tang. But I was intrigued by the ‘Carrot Cake Marmalade,’ at Food & Wine. The recipe originated from “ Molly’s Rise and Shine in New Orleans, where diners rave about the yogurt bowl served topped with marmalade,” as the recipe’s intro states.
I liked the idea of adding warm spices, but increased the number of other fruits –oranges, apples, and particularly lemons—which beautifully complement the carrots’ one-dimensional sweetness. Also, I didn’t over-process the fruit to get a very smooth jam, as the recipe suggests.
My carrot jam is somewhat tart, much closer to my most favorite citrus-fruit marmalades. But you can add more honey or sugar to make it sweeter, as most people probably would prefer it…
Serve with creamy, thick yogurt, with fresh cheese –like myzithra or ricotta– or with the very creamy manouri cheese. I also like to spread it on slices of my Orange, Lemon or Tangerine Olive-oil Cake.
At Molly’s Rise and Shine in New Orleans their very smooth carrot jam is served with granola and yogurt, topped with orange segments and blackberries.
Makes about 2.2 quarts (liters)
2 pounds carrots (1 kilo) cut into 2.5-inch pieces, then each piece halved lengthwise; depending on the carrot’s thickness, each carrot half cut lengthwise into 2-3 sticks
2 medium-size Granny Smith apples (about 2/3 pound, 350 grams), cored, and cut into long chunks
3 oranges halved, pitted, and cut into thin slices
4 lemons halved, pitted, and cut into thin slices
2 cups orange juice
1 cup water or more, as needed
1 cup granulated sugar, or more as needed (to taste)
Pinch of salt
SPICES –tied in a piece of cheesecloth
5 cardamom pods, lightly smashed
4 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup honey or more, as needed
1/4 cup lemon juice
Full fat, thick yogurt, myzithra (ricotta-like cheese), or creamy manouri for serving (optional)
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan place the carrots, apples, oranges, lemons and add the sugar, the orange juice, and the water, as well as the spices in the cheesecloth, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring occasionally.
Cover with a piece of parchment paper and a lid, lower the heat to medium-low and cook; cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are crisp-tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are very tender, and the liquid has reduced to a thin, syrupy consistency, 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and transfer the carrot mixture to a food processor or blender. Mash to get a somewhat coarse mixture. Alternatively, you can mash the carrot and fruit in the pot with a stick blender.
Transfer the mashed carrots etc. back to the pot, add the honey and lemon, and cook another 10 minutes, stirring often. Taste and add more honey or sugar if you want –I prefer this jam on the sour side, as all my marmalades.
Discard the spices and transfer the jam to clean, warm jars. Fill almost to the top, close the lids, and let the jars cool and seal. Keep in a cool place or in the refrigerator. As this jam has little sugar it may spoil sooner than most other fruit preserves and jams.
If you like, spoon yogurt into bowls, and top with dollops of spicy carrot jam.