There are some childhood memories that will always linger with you. And for me, one such memory is of having Jujubes with Grandpa. As he got older, he didn’t have many teeth and Jujubes was his favourite sweet. It was also mum’s go-to reward for me for good behaviour growing up.
It’s hard to find good Jujubes these days. Sure you get the ones at kirana stores in those plastic containers but they are hard and barely have any of the fruity flavour that I associate with them. The only Jujubes I do like are the ones available at Kyani & Co opposite Metro in Fort, Mumbai. They still make them fresh and the texture is soft and jelly-like just as I remember it with the fruity taste coming right through.
It’s one of our favourite treats at home and if someone is coming via Fort, Jujubes from Kyani and Khari from Paris Bakery is an absolute must – even if you are only going to Zaveri Bazaar which is quite a walk away from these two iconic Irani joints. The Jujubes at Kyani come wrapped in the mysterious brown paper bag of my childhood and everyone at home has their own favourite colour that they try to steal as soon as we get home. Mine of course is the red!
A couple months ago, I was talking about these iconic Jujubes with a work colleague and he asked me if I could replicate them for him. The caveat? We wanted to use fresh fruit rather than the chemicals even if that meant sacrificing on the shelf life. After all, once you have a plate of Jujubes in front of you, how long do they really last anyways.
Surprisingly, there is no one recipe online that seemed to work for me. My Twitter Friend, @ShekharHirde started me off with a Pineapple Jujube recipe that he has tried but that didn’t really work out for me as they melted into a puddle in about an hour (I discovered that it’s the chemical in Pineapple reacting to gelatine and not really the recipe that was at fault).
After several (read about 12) trials and consuming almost a kilo of sugar, I finally had a recipe that used fresh fruits but didn’t compromise on the texture. If you’re feeling like heading back to your childhood this weekend and in the mood for a delicious science experiment then this Jujube recipe is a must try! I tried mine with Blackberries from Mahabaleshwar but it also works with strawberries, oranges and mango – please stay away from Pineapple though.
To begin, mix 1/2 cup of the cold water with the gelatine and let it solidify for 10 minutes.
Pulse berries of your choice in a blender, without adding any water to create the fruit extract.
In a bowl, add the sugar and 1/3 cup of the fruit extract. Add in a further 1/4 cup of fruit extract.
Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and let it simmer for another 3 minutes until it starts to thicken.
Strain the mixture and add it to the gelatine mixture while whisking continuously. Now, take a break and eat up all the remaining extract.
Pour into silicon moulds (they make it easier to pop out the Jujubes) and allow to cool for an hour. Chill for a further 3 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove from moulds and cut into small squares. Coat with granulated sugar to prevent them sticking to each other.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for upto a week or even better just gobble them up right away before someone else gets their hands on them.
To make about 30 – 40 jujubes you will need:
3/4 cup cold drinking water
30 gm gelatin powder
100gm fresh berries or fruit of your choice (except pineapple)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar for coating Jujubes