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abcdefg

This stub on Chinese jam was spit off from a discussion of how to make chili oil 红油 at home. The way it happened was that I used a jar which originally held Bon Maman strawberry jam to store some of the chili sauce. 

 

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That led to a discussion of Chinese fruit jam, or fruit jam in China, which we hope to continue here. 

 

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Shelley

This brings up an interesting question, are jams, marmalades or other similar preserves part of Chinese cuisine?

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ChTTay
11 hours ago, Shelley said:

are jams, marmalades or other similar preserves part of Chinese cuisine?

You can get western style Jam in almost every small supermarket. Usually strawberry, blueberry and maybe one or two others. Part of cuisine? Not sure I’d go that far but certainly readily available. As they’re so readily available you could assume also bought/eaten regularly. 

 

My wife uses blueberry berry jam sometimes in making a Chinese dish that I forget the name of. Students in my class sometimes have jam sandwiches. 

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Shelley

So not something you would find before western foods were introduced then?

 

I just wondered if things like preserved fruit in alcohol or made into jams was common part of the chinese diet.

 

Jam sandwiches mmmmm and a cup of tea, childhood memories flooding back mmmmmm.

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abcdefg
1 hour ago, Shelley said:

Jam sandwiches mmmmm and a cup of tea, childhood memories flooding back mmmmmm.

 

No PBJ for young Shelley! I recall, however, that you have some fruit trees at home. Have you put up any jam this year? Hope so. 

 

I think fruit jams and jellies are borrowed from the west. Not surprising, since yeast-risen loaf bread was not indigenous to China either. It's a fairly late arrival. China does have it's flat breads and steamed breads, but they are not the same. 

 

The fruit jam I have seen most commonly here, oddly enough is marketed as a tea. Most Chinese buyers put a couple spoons of it in hot water as a beverage instead of spreading it on toast. 

 

柚子茶 -- Youzi cha -- Most often imported from Korea. Made with the outer skin plus some fruit of the youzi ("pomelo") -- the fruit looks like an overgrown grapefruit (西柚)。It's in season now. 

 

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The jam is made with honey instead of sugar. Excellent taste in that it combines a bitter/tart note with a sweet base. Has some of the same charm as jam made with Seville oranges in the west. Inexpensive. Well worth a try.  (The small writing at the bottom of the jar says "Honey citron tea.")

 

1808034972_IMG_20191117_074452(2)-830px.thumb.jpg.c5eb71221b202164b040f1688349bc74.jpg     987399029_IMG_20191117_074633(2)-830px.thumb.jpg.fa071a0d093fc2ce6ffa0e783b3e08f6.jpg

 

 

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Shelley

Oh wow, that sounds tempting, marmalade, or jam in hot water as a tea. Oh my, I am going to have to try that.

 

What a wonderful way to use my vast pounds of fruit next year. Made in to jams or even jellies and given to friends in small jars (to give the impression of exclusivity :shock:) with instructions to take as a fruit tea. I may even start a fad.

 

This year was not good year for fruit, it was doing well and just when we need the sun it poured with rain and lots of the cherries rotted on the tree before they were ripe, a bit sad really. The apple tree needs a really good prune next spring and then it should let light and air in at the cherries and pear.

 

Yes indeed not for me, no PJS on the menu for me, not even jam/jelly sandwiches in a house that eats PJS :cry:

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abcdefg

 

7 hours ago, Shelley said:

Oh wow, that sounds tempting, marmalade, or jam in hot water as a tea. Oh my, I am going to have to try that.

 

What a wonderful way to use my vast pounds of fruit next year. Made in to jams or even jellies and given to friends in small jars (to give the impression of exclusivity :shock:) with instructions to take as a fruit tea. I may even start a fad.

 

That sounds like an excellent idea. The thing that makes this citron tea so special is that it has a little bit of bitterness and tang from the outer layer of peel in addition to the slightly sour flavor of the fruit. The sweetness is supplied by rock sugar 冰糖 and honey 蜂蜜。The recipes I've seen on the Chinese internet don't call for adding pectin. (I have not made it myself.) 

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ChTTay
7 hours ago, abcdefg said:

The fruit jam I have seen most commonly here, oddly enough is marketed as a tea.

I’d probably have to disagree with that in my experience. Since my time here there has always been jam available. Kewpie and McCormick (or something similar?).  

Fairly sure most people don’t use it like a tea. Yinchuan in 2011 I had no problem buying jam but finding unsweetened bread that wasn’t like cotton wool was tough. We used to have jam on a toasted white plain Bingzi instead.  

 

The honey pomelo tea became most popular and wide spread with the rise of cafe culture. Originally a Korean thing. 

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Shelley

I am assuming the availability of jams is a modern thing, my question was really about it as part of the old non-westernised cuisine of China say a hundred to 150 years ago.

I still think jams or marmalades as a tea sound wonderful, when I go shopping next I shall buy a selection and let you all know. I will start a new topic as this one has be hijacked enough although I am sure abcdefg doesn't mind.

 

 

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abcdefg
On 11/17/2019 at 4:01 PM, ChTTay said:

The honey pomelo tea became most popular and wide spread with the rise of cafe culture. Originally a Korean thing. 

 

I defer to your experience and have no reason to doubt that what I remember here in the Southwest might not be typical for all of China. Kunming doesn't have much in the way of cafe culture, at least in the parts I inhabit.

 

I remember being invited for dinner at a Korean restaurant in 2007 in the venerable Kunming Hotel 昆明饭店 and my gracious host ordered a round of this citron honey tea at the end of the meal. It was served in a tall clear glass with a long spoon so we could stir it up from the bottom and eat bites of it as we sipped. 

 

(I'll ask a moderator to split off the jam part of this chili sauce post. Interesting topic. That way we can explore it more fully.) 

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Shelley

Oh thats a good plan, a new jam topic.

I will look forward to it.

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大块头

There is such a strong tradition in China of eking every possible calorie out of the land. Surely people have devised ways of preserving fruit when it's bountiful?

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abcdefg
4 hours ago, 大块头 said:

There is such a strong tradition in China of eking every possible calorie out of the land. Surely people have devised ways of preserving fruit when it's bountiful?

 

That's a very sensible question and I must confess my ignorance on the topic. I have found lots and lots of dried fruits here in China, and lots of pickled vegetables, but very few sweet fruit jams or preserves. Not sure why. I'll try and investigate the subject as time permits. 

 

This is completely off the top of my head, and I cannot even pretend that it is science, but I wonder if sweet fruit jams and preserves would have become so popular in the west without the parallel tradition of bread and toast. 

 

I've seen odd pickled fruits that are sour, salty and sweet all at once. Not sure if they are found all over China or only here in Yunnan. An example is 泡梨 pao li (pickled pears.) https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57682-pear-porridge-for-winter-cough-雪梨粥/?tab=comments#comment-447528 (near the bottom of the page.)

 

Sun-dried aquatic products 水产 are a big industry in coastal areas and China has a lot of cured and smoked meats, ranging from ham to tea-smoked duck. 

 

 

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ChTTay
On 11/18/2019 at 8:50 AM, abcdefg said:

I remember being invited for dinner at a Korean restaurant in 2007 in the venerable Kunming Hotel 昆明饭店 and my gracious host ordered a round of this citron honey tea

Notable it’s a Korean restaurant. 

 

I would also say that tea tea is not really a “jam” in the sense Shelly is thinking. As far as I’m aware that Korean marmalade type mix is purely for drinking. Just adding strawberry jam to hot water probably wouldn’t have as nice a result 🤔

 

Agree with Abcdefg that pickling is one of the most popular ways. For fruit, also don’t forget dried fruits. They’re quite big on dehydrated fruits and vegetables here. I’d say those two have been the main forms of preservation.

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suMMit

I was expecting this thread to be about a Chinese Paul Weller type doing covers in Chinese language

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Michaelyus

I agree that pickling and drying fruit have a much longer history than jam-making / preserving via sugar in the East (and historically). One must also remember that jam-making in the West only really became an accessible domestic thing after the trade in cane sugar took off in the ~16th century, slowly filtering through the social classes in the subsequent centuries. Before that, quince was the main source of jam (Ancient Greek μελίμηλον melímēlon (lit. sweet apple) > Latin melimelum > Portuguese marmelo, giving rise to French and English marmelade), because of its high pectin content, although even then it was usually preserved using sugar and honey.


According to the (current version of the) OED, "jam" dates back to 1736, whereas "jelly" ("iely") referring to fruit preserves possibly dates to 1548. The "chare de quincys" is recorded in an English recipe from 1440, and "marmelate" from 1480.

 

Quote

The honey pomelo tea became most popular and wide spread with the rise of cafe culture. Originally a Korean thing. 

 

Looks like I'm going to play the hipster-before-it-was-cool card! Growing up in a culturally Chinese household [Guangdong & Fujian traditions] in Britain, at the turn of the millennium, with the wide of range of fruit jams at cheap prices in UK supermarkets, our family's major consumption of jam was off the spoon into boiling water. 

 

The history of 柚子茶 / 유자차 (yujacha) is connected with Korean folklore (the addition of sugar to make the pomelo edible) with the revered King Sejong the Great being one of its advocates apparently. But it fits with a larger tradition of 淸 (청) cheong in Korean royal cuisine, which I'd describe as "syrups" - sweeteners to imitate honey.

 

 

Separately (might require a new thread): 仙草. Very southern Chinese / southeast Asian, I feel. 

 

Also separately: tea with jam as sweetener in Russia.

 

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ChTTay
8 hours ago, Michaelyus said:

in Britain, at the turn of the millennium, with the wide of range of fruit jams at cheap prices in UK supermarkets, our family's major consumption of jam was off the spoon into boiling wate

😂😂

 

Do you still do this? 

 

I still say the pomelo tea thing wasn't anything like as popular here now until cafe culture hit. You can get it pretty much everywhere now. Common as muck

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abcdefg
10 hours ago, Michaelyus said:

 

I had completely forgotten about that. It's a very Russian custom. I learned to appreciate it as a youth. 

 

Thanks, @Michaelyus for that informative and comprehensive look at the topic. 

 

13 hours ago, ChTTay said:

As far as I’m aware that Korean marmalade type mix is purely for drinking.

 

Right. That is the manufacturer's intent. The instructions on the label even explain how to dissolve it in hot water to make a sweet beverage. But I subvert it sometimes to spread on toast. Works just fine. Reminiscent of a good grapefruit marmalade.  

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Michaelyus
13 hours ago, ChTTay said:

Do you still do this? 

 

Rarely. Mostly with fancier jams (very partial to rose jam from the local Turkish shop).

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abcdefg
14 minutes ago, Michaelyus said:

Mostly with fancier jams (very partial to rose jam from the local Turkish shop).

 

Sounds good! Reminds me that we have rose jam here. As well as delicious rose stuffed pastry. (Kunming grows lots of roses.)  

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