Fruits tend to ripen at the same time of year. For several weeks there may be large amounts of mangoes, guavas or citrus, for example. During the rest of the year there may be little or none available.

Some fruits can be made into juice – particularly citrus fruits such as limes and lemons. Place the juice in a pan and bring almost to the boil, cover and allow to cool a little before pouring into clean bottles with tops. Adding a pinch of potassium metabisulphite as a preservative will keep the juice from getting spoilt. When serving, mix with sugar and water to taste.

Many fruits make good jams if plenty of sugar is available. Fresh fruit is chopped up and cooked with sugar and a little water. Jam tastes good when eaten on bread or chapatti.

Fruit, such as mangoes and pineapple can also be dried. Fruit pieces should be dipped into a litre of boiling water containing two large spoons of lemon juice, four cups of sugar, and if possible a soda bottle-top full of potassium metabisulphite, a preservative. Dried fruit can become a cash crop for selling locally.

Discussion

  • What usually happens when fruit crops ripen? How much fruit is wasted? How easy is it to sell fruit at harvest time?
  • What methods do people use at present to try to store harvested fruit?
  • Would any of these new ideas for preserving fruit be useful in our community? Which of these suggested ideas could we try out together?
  • Would people in nearby towns and cities buy our dried fruit? How could we prepare, sell and market the fruit there?
  • Do people drink fresh fruit juice or do they prefer sodas? Compare the cost of fruit juice and sodas. Which is better for good health?
  • Do people in the local area eat jam? Have any of us ever tried making jam? What fruit could we use to try this out?

JAM RECIPE 

Many fruits such as mangoes, cape gooseberries, raspberries and guava all make good jam. If possible, find a jam recipe. The recipe below is a very general one. You may need to change the quantities of water and sugar a little.

  • Wash and chop up ripe fruit into small pieces. Remove any pips. For every two cups of chopped fruit, add just a 1 /2 cup of water (less if the fruit is very juicy).
  • Cook the fruit in a large pan until very soft (usually 15–20 minutes but longer for citrus fruits).
  • Then add one cup of sugar for every one cup of fruit. Stir well and boil for 10–20 minutes until it begins to set.
  • Test for setting by dropping a small amount of jam onto a cool plate. After a few minutes, push it gently with your finger. If it wrinkles and forms a skin, it is ready. If it does not, boil for longer and try again. You may need to add a little more sugar.
  • Take clean jars with lids that close. Put a damp cloth around each jar before pouring in the hot jam (this stops the jar breaking). Put on the lid immediately and allow to cool. If the jam sets firmly it will keep for a year or two. If it does not set well, eat it within a month or two.