For hundreds of years, sugar, salt, drying or smoking, among other methods, have been used with the aim of extending the useful life of food. The abundance of a season spanned just a few months – now it can be quite long – and the way to dose it for the rest of the year was to reduce the water content of the food, change its pH and isolate it from oxygen.
If you think about preserving a carrot, the first ideas that come to mind are usually acidification through pickling or fermentation, and also candiing; a more than delicious option if prepared with garlic, sage and onion. However, the option of turning it into jam would rarely occur to us. Although it contains less water than a fruit, it also has a lot of sweetness and a flavor that combines very well with ingredients normally associated with sweetness, such as cinnamon, honey or cardamom. Therefore, once candied in sugar, water and some aromatics, it becomes a perfect accompaniment to cakes, creams and cookies, as well as cheeses, pâtés, sausages or meats.
The procedure to make it is the same as that of a fruit jam, only adding a little more water so that the carrot cooks in a syrup little by little – as if it were candied. You can also add some elements that provide aroma and complexity, such as citrus fruits, spices or aromatic herbs. In this recipe, orange and lemon, cardamom and other spices are added that make it a little reminiscent of the flavors of carrot cake, but it would also be great with simply a cinnamon stick, with some anise stars and a splash of Pedro Ximenez or with some sage leaves.
Time: 75 minutes
Difficulty: The same as any other jam
500 g carrots 1 orange 1 lemon 5 cardamom pods ½ teaspoon nutmeg ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon ginger 200 ml water 200 g sugar Salt
Peel and weigh the carrots. Grate and mix with the sugar in a bowl. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least five hours.
Add the grated carrot to a saucepan with the sugar and all the liquid in the bowl, the water, the orange juice and a pinch of salt. Cut two strips of the lemon and orange peel, without the white part, and add them to the saucepan.
Cook over low heat for half an hour, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
Add the crushed cardamom pods and spices. Cook for another half hour.
Add two tablespoons of lemon juice and remove from heat. Remove the aromatics and store the jam in a previously sterilized jar.