Sunday, September 29, 2013

This My Jam!

No wait, this literally is 'my jam' haha So aside from growing sugarcane on our farm, my dad decided to experiment with some things and planted an orchard filled with mangoes about 7 years ago. It was only until recently that the trees started to bear fruit. Not expecting much, we hauled them back to our house and proceeded to sample the literal 'fruits of our labor'.

Boy, were we surprised when we tasted our mangoes.

Sweet nectar of the gods. I ain't exaggerating. It was like the mango trees sucked up the sugar from the sugarcane stalks growing beside them and greedily loaded them up in their fruits. Ever since that fateful day a few years ago, we've been planting more and more mangoes in hopes of turning this into something bigger than a backyard project.

Now one of my little experiments ever since coming home to help with the family business is to look for alternative ways to sell our mangoes. My problem is this: we don't have a stable bulk buyer yet. This means that we usually sell our mangoes at 'farm gate' ( a.k.a. really cheap) price to middle men who come from the towns that surround our farm. Don't get me wrong, we usually sell out within the day that the fruits are harvested, but the thing is we have to sell it to them cheap since we haven't been able to find a bigger buyer.

Anyway, I'll get to fixing that buyer problem soon, but in the mean time, I wanted to develop an alternative to selling mango fruits. I was looking for something with the following criteria: (1) Must have a long shelf-life (mango fruits usually only last 2-3 weeks in fruit form), (2) Must be able to be branded and (3) Must be able to be exported easier than exporting fruits (export laws are friggin' hard!)

With these three points in mind, I set out to look for alternatives. After spending some time researching, I was able to come to the conclusion that mango jam fit all three criteria quite nicely. I found a good recipe and I set out to make my own jam.

It was a bit challenging at first since I'm not that good in cooking, but with enough hard work and perseverance, I was able to come up with my first batch of jam. It was as sour. How sour? My family mistook it for calamansi jam. Oh well. Back to the drawing board, on the second try, I was able to get the general taste of what I was going for in the first place: jam that isn't too sweet that it'll instantly give you diabetes, but jam that has just the right amount of cloying sweetness as well as a nice little hint of tartness to it. And thus, my jam was born.

You can now see my jam below, chilling on some toasted whole wheat bread that has been generously slathered with delicious creamy cheese.

Up next, refinement of the recipe, the need to consult a proper food technologist, and branding & packaging :) Oh and taste testing of course! Any volunteers?

In case you're wondering how I shot this, here's the set up below:

Camera Info: Nikon D7000 with Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 & Nikon 40mm f/2..8 Macro
Exif Data: For most shots, Aperture: f/8, Shutter Speed: 1/160 or 1/200
Strobist Info: One Nikon SB 700 @ 1/2 power located behind a collapsible light tent. Reflective Paper on light tent as well.
Post Processing Info: Minor enhancements in Lightroom and Auto-Alinged and Auto-Blended for Focus Stacking in Photoshop.

No comments: