Mango Jam

 mango jam
Nothing compares to the taste of organically grown fresh produce from your own garden. It is seasonal, it has ripened naturally, and made it to your table with the smallest ecological footprint possible.

But if the bounty is large you may be left with a lot even after you have shared it with friends, family, neighbours, and house help. That is when you fall back on the age old methods for preserving fresh produce. Sun-drying, and freezing are the easiest.


Mango pulp, usually from commercially non-marketable fruit, is sun-dried in India into aampapad. Both unripe and ripe mangoes are used for this. The sweet pulp from ripened mangoes is sundried to make the yellow and sweet aampapad. Unripe mangoes produce the black sour aampapad that was a daily indulgence in our childhood. I remember the one inch square pieces of it, individually packed with a tiny pouch of chat masala (Indian spiced salt) that we would buy from our daily allowance of 10 paise ❗ in our childhood. What a mouth-puckeringly delicious treat it was. Now TH sources his yearly 5 kilos from some obscure place in Old Delhi. Yes, you read right – five kilos of it! There’s a child in all of us that survives despite all the horrors of adulthood.

In both cases the pulp is dried, usually on a chattai (grass mat) in successive layers. Both the sour and sweet aampapads have their aficionados. In our house it is the sour tangy one that rules.

Mango pulp can also be frozen for later use in mango shakes, smoothies, and ice creams. I have frozen as much pulp as my limited freezer space allowed. I even tried to economize on the space by freezing in slim rectangular boxes, and then transferring the frozen blocks to freezer bags.

Usually I also make a little bit of mango jam with the bounty of mangoes and limes at my disposal. This year I made two batches since I was trying to use up the mangoes at their peak and yet have my parents enjoy some when they return from their long visit with my sister’s family.

You can make quick jam combining the fruit of your choice, with sugar, and reducing it a little. If it is to be refrigerated and consumed within a couple of weeks, you needn’t worry about the fruit-sugar ratio, setting point, and sealing the jars so much. But if it is to preserve the fruit so that you may enjoy it over the whole year till it is time for fresh kind again, then you need to worry about the science of it somewhat.

Some things to keep in mind:

Use fruit that is firm and only just ripe (may be mixed with some fully ripe fruit); but not over-ripe fruit. The flavours are going to concentrate as the jam reduces, and you want it to be the best.

Use a heavy bottom non-reactive pan for cooking the jam. All basins and bowls you need for keeping or measuring prepared fruit should also be of non-reactive material (such as glass, plastic, steel, earthenware, or enamel). The same goes for sieves and strainers (if used) – nylon ones being the best.

A sugar thermometer, though by no means essential, can be handy for gauging the setting point of jam. Most jams reach setting point around 105 C (220 F) – but double check with one more test.

While one could always use special jars made for bottling, there is nothing wrong with using jars that previously stored other things. Just clean them with soap and hot water, and sterilize in boiling water before use. Covering the jam with wax discs or greaseproof paper before securing the cap provides additional protection from mold.

Mango Jam
(Makes about 2 kilo)

4 C prepared mango pulp
zest, juice, and pips of 5 fresh limes (about 1 C juice)
1 ¼ C water
4 C sugar

prepared fruit
Preparing the fruit:
Peel the mangoes. Chop the juicy pulp into thin dice. I hold the peeled mango is my left hand, score it all the way to the stone (crisscrossing), and then remove the pulp in slivers, over the measuring cup. Flip the mango, and repeat. Remove the rest of the pulp shaving off with the knife till you have a clean stone. Tip the measured pulp into the heavy-bottom pan that you will be using for cooking the jam.

I like to have little bits of fruit in my jam so the rough chopping works for me. If you prefer smooth jam, then puree the fruit.

Zest the limes. Halve and juice them. Collect all the pips, tie in a small bundle using a scrap of muslin, and throw into the pan along with the juice and the zest.

Softening the fruit:
Add water to the pan and bring the contents to boil. Simmer gently till the fruit is reduced to a pulp, about 20 minutes (it should reduce by a third). There is no need to stir during this step.

Water is added to the fruit depending on its juiciness, type of pan (wide mouth versus narrow), and the amount of fruit. Mangoes are quite juicy and need a moderate addition of water. Apples need more, while very juicy fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, and rhubarb need no water at all for pre-cooking.

Adding pectin:
Pectin is needed for the proper setting of jam. Fruits low in pectin will need addition of lime juice or other fruits that are rich in pectin (or the addition of commercial pectin which I know nothing about). While I have never performed the pectin test to determine the pectin level of mangoes, I do add lime zest, pips, and juice which help the jam on its way to setting properly.

The peel, juice, and pips of limes, lemons, and most other citrus fruits are rich in pectin. The juice and the zest also enhance the flavour of the mango jam besides adding stunning slivers of lime green to the deep orange glow of the jam. Every time I bite into a peel, I taste the additional burst of citrus flavour and a hint of marmalade.

Before adding sugar, remove the pip-bundle from the cooked fruit. Give it a squeeze to extract all the thick pectin, and discard.

rapid boilAdding sugar:
Turn the heat up and add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, till all the sugar has been incorporated. The jam should not stop boiling through this entire step. Boil rapidly till the setting point is reached (about 20-30 minutes, or till the sugar thermometer reads 105 C), stirring only to prevent the jam from scorching. Remove from heat and check for setting.

Too little boiling will result in poor setting; too much boiling and the jam will become sticky and dark, and lose much of its flavour.

While you may be tempted to reduce the amount of sugar, don’t. This is the absolute minimum that is needed to prepare a fruit preserve. Again, the amount of sugar needed depends on the fruit. Finished jam should be 60% sugar for it to not ferment. The quantity of sugar is also critical to the proper setting of the jam. Too little sugar will prevent the jam from setting properly; too much will do the same besides also ruining the fruity flavour. Most packaged jams in India have too much sugar; the ones with better fruit to sugar ratio call themselves ‘fruit preserves’ and command a much higher price.

Low-sugar jams should be made in small quantities for quicker consumption. Their shelf life can be improved by using bottling jars that have been sterilized in boiling water for 5 minutes.

plate testTesting for setting point:
The easiest of all tests is the plate test. Allow a little jam to cool on a cold plate – I keep a plate in the freezer, put some jam on it, and put it back in the freezer for a minute. If a skin forms on the surface and can be pushed with a finger the setting point has been reached. If not, return to heat and boil for a few more minutes, and test again.

Let the jam stand for a few minutes. Remove any scum with a slotted spoon. Pour the hot jam into clean and dry jars all the way to the top. Wipe any drips, and cover the jam with a wax-disc or greaseproof paper. Or failing all, with cling film (as is the case with yours truly), the idea being to prevent the jam from coming in contact with air. Cap tightly and store. If you are not certain of your sealing abilities, refrigerate the preserve.

Every spoon full of this jam is filled with the concentrated flavour of the Amrapali mango. Spread on buttered toast, dilute with a little warm water to serve with ice cream, or use in trifle pudding – any which way you use it you are going to be reminded of the sunny Indian summer.


And this is my entry for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle; her theme this month is Earth Food.

The mango and lime trees, the fruits of which were made into this jam grow in my parents’ backyard and were planted by my father. The yard is also the recharge area for all the rainwater from their house; it will flood temporarily during a heavy storm, and then all the water just soaks into the ground. The trees have not really been watered since they were established; they are completely rain-fed. They are pruned a little once a year and have never been sprayed with pesticides. The yard also has a small compost pit into which goes all the garden and kitchen waste. Cow-dung manure is the main fertilizer for this small city garden.

Featured recipes that use their garden produce:
Lime Squash (Limeade Concentrate)
Lime Marmalade
Mango Shake
Monjji Haak

Featured recipes that use produce from my tiny patch:
Alu Wadi (Taro-leaf Spirals)
Mint and Walnut Chutney
Gulkand (Rose-petal Preserve)


Published by Anita

A self professed urban ecologist!

60 thoughts on “Mango Jam

  1. Ah! mangoes again! i want some, plz……..

    Oh! and i didn’t refer to you as Mummy ji, but that trick is the kind that Momz use to prevent kids from eating pakoras 🙂 essentially that trick is the Mummy ji here 😀

    It is the King of Fruits after all!

    I know what you were saying: the trick makes it Mummy ji! I was just pulling your leg – and you are much much younger. Been there. 😀

  2. I definitely admire your resourcefulness- gorgeous gorgeous!

    And I especially like your method of combining pectin-rich limes with mangoes- no need to rely on commercial products! 😉

    Thank you! Just using the ingredients at hand!

  3. yummy yummmy and triple yummy. This sounds so grand. I am a huge mango fan unfortunately here in Germany we do not always get such yummy tasting ones as in India/Dubai.

    So you’ll be doing some major mango-tasting sessions soon!

  4. Wonderful Jam! But wheneevr i get mangoes I finish them before I could try out the whole lot of mango recipes our blogger buddies post 😦 no way out 😉

    That is always the best use of fruit! Less calories too!

  5. OOOOOHH~~~~ I am going to dream of this jam. I like the idea of zest in it. Yeah the preserves guys are raking in money. Too expensive I agree but I like their non standard combinations though. Anita any plans of your own line?? The marmalade, jams wow! The pip potli is a good idea I will be using it often.

    I would – but it is best done in small batches! 😀 So, only for appreciative friends – shall I count you in then? 😆

  6. Anita, Oh the lovely looking jam, even if had only one poetic bone in my body I would written an ode to it. Have not tasted aampapad but I can imagine how it would taste, usually what we got with our 10 paise was sour mango with salt and chilli powder, I can understand TH completely for keeping a stash.

    ‘Hapoos’ here are rotting in stores all over the US, I did not want to spend $5 on just one and some of them look so I can’t find the right without charisma. My aunt’s comment on seeing them rotting in one store was “In India we can’t even get to see these mangoes and look at what is happening to them here”.

    Prose works too! 😀

    How easy it was to be happy in our childhood! It is a rare child today who thinks of these as treats. Little pleasures big delights…

    Too bad about the rotting Hapoos – they will learn their lesson that they priced it too high! I always think Hapoos is overpriced, even in India. I had it for the second time this summer (after 10 years?) – there are so many other varieties to chose from!! All with their own distinct and delicious flavours! This year they have been very inexpensive – mostly between Rs20-25/kg!

  7. Anita,
    That looks soooooooooooo good!!!
    You have described each step so well & in so much detail (unlike some others who don’t even post recipes of the pics they take!! ;-).
    Right now, I am just looking at the first pic & drooling all over my keyboard.
    What a great post!

    😀 I know! It’s rude to post tantalizing pics without recipes!

    Thanks for your kind words.

  8. Hi,You have shown it in a step by step procedure.Very nice pictures.Even i prepared mango-banana jam this time.

    That seems to be an interesting combination of fruits. And you made it in the microwave, wow!

  9. Anita, excellent informative post about the jam as well as the other products! I am so jealous of your mango bounty though, being stuck here with utterly inferior stuff.

    I like making a mountain out of a mole-hill! Oh, but you have all kinds of other gorgeous fruit that I long for!

  10. Somewhere in the post, i see sour aampapad…..Somewhere in the comments, i see a mention of “raw mangoes, salt and chilli powder”…..gentle torture at its best ;).

    totally slurp worthy stuff that is. and here i am, with no raw mangoes!! and no good ripe mangoes either…..i heart these pictures, my only solace!

    Make do with imli till then! It is as good with salt – that was a childhood treat too (when you were not yet born LOL)! And Lime Margarita is another great way to mix sour and salty 😉

  11. Anita,

    Mango Jam looks so delicious especially with lemon rind, lucky to be enjoying such bounty.These days in the name of urbanization there are not many open places.
    excellent pics

    We have to rethink what Urbanization has to mean – yesterday’s headlines: Gurgaon will dry up in 10 years!

  12. I was glued to the screen when readin this post. Love that last shot, translucent, with lemon zest here and there. Work of art!

    Thanks, Suganya. The lemon zest is a delicious aesthetic touch!

  13. What delicious looking mangoes! And thanks for rubbing it in 😉

    Just returning the favour! 😆 Remember the apricots? And persimmons?

  14. Hey Anita, I can just smell those mangoes being cooked through this post,hmmmmmmmm….. that will be the day when i get so many mangoes in southern africa… and i love the way you use up all the things in yur garden… lovely 🙂 … (btw, i have question for you on my blog… hope u can find the recipe? 🙂 )

    😀 I have the answer! And have posted the recipe for you – that’s how easy it is!

  15. Yet another gorgeous post. Reading this is sweet torture 🙂

    …but you can torture in return by substituting mango with other wonderful fruits from your Farmer’s Market. 😀

  16. knock, knock. manisha, pel, are you hiding somewhere?

    I think I made them disappear! …entirely by accident, of course.

  17. You woke me up, Bee. That’s just not done! Arrrgh! Pel is still busy washing all that candy off his face. Sometimes there are things you have to learnt he hard way.

    Anita, my dear, will this work with canned mango pulp?

    As for Earth Day, I am so excited! I have 2 flowers on the one bean plant and 8 flowers on the 4 okra plants that survived while we were gone. 😆

    Abracadabra reversed! You’re here!

    Yes, you can use mango pulp, or any other fruit pulp – but reduce the sugar a little if there is added sugar in the pulp. Even frozen fruit can be used for making jam!

    Better still – use any of your seasonal fruits – apples, plums, peaches…home-made cherry, and strawberry jams are the best kind!

  18. Hi Anita,

    thanx a lot for your advice on how to pickle on rainy Swedish days (or monsoons in Delhi 🙂
    After reading your detailed post on preserving fruits I am sure your advices are golden. Actually I just started pickling chilies, we ll see where it goes…

    Good luck to both of us 🙂

    Your pickle is gonna be just fine – as will be mine. In Delhi the mango pickling season coincides with monsoons. If fact, the pickling mangoes are believed to be best after only the first rain!

  19. Gosh woman! 🙂 send me a bottle nah 😀 This would be a good entry for Coffee’s MBP – Preserve It too.

    A good entry if you make it!

  20. Thanks for the wonderful stepwise and pictorial directions Anita. WIsh i could make it too, but i dont get any mangoes where i live.

    I have included a lot of general information on jam making so you can use whatever it is that you have in abundance!

  21. Hey nice post on preserves, I was really glued to the screen, I was not at all aware of pectin presence in mangos..that looks pleasant and seeking.

    A little labour and look what it can yield for the whole year!

  22. The mango jam looks lovely. All I can do is drool… The mangoes we get here don’t taste like the one’s I remember from home. So end up making salads with them.

    btw thanks for the lime squash recipe. It was awesome.


    Truely, Indian mangoes are the best! Glad you enjoyed the lime squash – I’ll be using some tonight 😉

  23. What’d I miss? I’ve had my nose stuck in …the Half-Blood Prince– re-reading it so I am once again poised on the brink…waiting. 2 days! AAAArgh!

    If you missed anything you could always go back 😀 …Magic is in the air – people materialising out of thin air. You are getting good with the spells; Hermione will be proud. 😀

    I am reading it too slow – Anu asks every night if I have finished – read a few pages last night and then fell asleep..

  24. This is an excellent idea… I don’t know what to do with leftover mangoes in summer. Now I know – making jam! I have bookmarked this. thanks for sharing.

    Hi, Anh! And what a wonderful blog you have. The photography is fantastic!

  25. There she is again, the queen of torture… the mango pics are killing me Anita… 😦 …

    Repeat the dose till the patient dies! Just, kidding!

  26. “…and then fell asleep…” eh? Well, hopefully you’ll get a break from the mangoes.

    [his eyes widen] I plum forgot about the rhubarb I cut today! I left it laying on the grass…

    It happens to the best of us…sleep deprivation.

  27. What a lovely post! That mango jam looks totally delicious. I always worry that making jam is too much effort, but you have explained it so easily…

  28. Even a cut lemon, sprinkled with a little sugar and salt was a treat for us as youngsters; my sis and I both would take our lemon-halves outside, show ’em to our fellow neighborhood brats, and start sucking them. Most entertaining to watch their mouths pucker and faces contort! 😀

    Is tamarind extract mixed with water and sugar for drinks in India as well? Tamarind soda is one of my favorites…

    Ummm…imli ka sharbat is perfect for the Indian summer! My Mum used to make it. They have something similar in Africa too – maybe it traveled with the Indian imli!

  29. hmm.. can i send u my address to mail me one of those yummy bottles and i kg of the black sour aampapad.. i used to love those and no idea to find them now!!!!!envy your mangoes so much, u are going to get a stomach upset!!just kidding!

    Absolutely, Shaheen! Bounty is meant to be shared!

  30. Imli ka sharbat…is that tamarind syrup over crushed ice?

    Sherbat/sherbet = flavoured drink
    imli ka sharbat = tamarind flavoured drink/drink made with tamarind = yes, tamarind syrup over crushed ice! I think sometimes raisins are added too…

  31. Anita, why is rhubarb considered a fruit, it looks more like celery sticks (I can’t stand celery sticks their texture bothers me, I fish them even out of soups) now back to rhubarb is it a similar kind of species? Pel, you grow them you can answer my question maybe?

  32. Indosungod- rhubarb is of a different family than celery (which, incidentally, is closely-related to cumin, asafoetida, coriander, fennel, etc.) Instead, rhubarb is related to buckwheat and bur-dock. It was brought to America from China at some point- where I believe it is used for souring savory foods, not for sweets. Here, it is mainly used for sweets, much like a fruit, often paired with raspberries or strawberries, sometimes with cinnamon and vanilla- but always with sugar added to smooth out it’s tartness.

    I personally don’t feel that all of its applications have been exhausted yet. Beautiful plant too! (But don’t eat the leaves)

  33. Hi Anita,
    I just saw your comment on my blog.
    Thanks for all the encouragement:-)You are so sweet.
    Now, just for you I have posted my potato-egg salad recipe with a looooong method of preparation(hey, it’s seven sentences long & I’m already exhausted !!)

    I made your cabbage pakodas the other day to go with your mint-walnut chutney.It was sooooooooo good!Thanks for the recipes.
    Waiting eagerly for your next post.

  34. WHAT!!! And how did I miss this gorgeous post!! Not a big mango fan that I am, but I would have had this in my jam parade as well!!! Awesome anita…. absolutely awesome!!!!

    You were too busy cooking up all those jams, I guess!

  35. Pingback: Sweet Beginnings
  36. Aloha!
    Many mangoes here on the islands, curious if honey can substitute for sugar, and if so at what proportions…
    Not such a big sugar fan myself…
    Lovely jam recipe! Very excited to try it!!

  37. Hi Anita,
    I made this yesterday with a mix of Kesari and Banginapally mangoes.. Proportion of sugar was little less than recommended, but it set perfectly 🙂 .. its a little sweet for my liking, but tastes soooo good :P.
    Very happy at my first attempt. The procedure is simple. I hated only the bottling part 😦 I broke a precious glass bottle.. huaaann.. 😥

    thank you for yet another wonderful recipe!

  38. I live in a town in Africa with a lot of mangoes .I have decided to sell my home made mango jams but there is not much chance to work in a commercial scale and I have to do my best with little facilities first I am looking for a quich simple recipe (which is exact in time and the heat)and then some hints to make sure my jam doesnt spoil while waiting in the supermarket because I have to to ladle them in kind of glasses they use once sorry don’t know the name and cover them with scelophone sheets with an elastic cord round the neck I know I have to pay attention to the beauty and cleanliness and these are concerns most important I am looking for some way to sterilize those glasses with probably some harmless liquid with an anti bacterial or antibiotic property.I wonder if I can clean every glass with a piece of cotton wet with the liqids they use for washing wounds before applying betadine? I got a bit confused with this complicated recepe though I liked and appreciate your aproach and it will be very useful but for the begining I NEED some shortened form to get a quick idea of what is happening still I will refer to your recepe sinc it is very sincere and precise and my poor language of english is another barrier thanks a lot

  39. I tried making this , came out wonderful. My 7 year old now calls me ” wow mom! you a are the best cook”. I didnt have lime at home, so I used halves of musambi orange , squeed out a little and put it as quarters , so that I could remove it from the jam when it was already ready , but still on the fire. I used 4 cups of home made mango puree and 3 cups of sugar for this. But I really liked your home made version for pectin. Thanks a lot!

    😀 Children are smart – they know how to make us feel the hard work was worth it!

    Try with fresh limes next time – adds a great tangy note!

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