Carrot jam has always been popular in Middle Eastern cultures, and found in 12th century recipes right up to the modern day. We've even done it here in the past, too – Mrs Beeton included a recipe for carrot jam in her Book Of Household Management of 1861; it also found favour in 1909 in Mrs Rorers Vegetable Cookery Book and re-emerged in World War Two Britain under food rationing. (CARROT MARMALADE HERE)
Many people view the carrot as an unlikely preserve ingredient, but carrot jam is surprisingly palatable. Like a marmalade, this sweet jam uses carrots to provide extra dimensions of texture and flavour for a fun topping. With a tangy taste, and an orange colour not dissimilar to marmalade, carrot jam would have been an occasional Victorian tea-time treat. Beware it often does not set as well as commercial jam.
Is a Carrot a Vegetable or Fruit?
For the purposes of the European Union's "Council Directive 2001/113/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption" carrots can be defined as a fruit as well as a vegetable. The Directive, written in the 80s and updated in 2001 describes the parameters required for a product to be labelled as jam or marmalade and from which the UK Jam and Similar Products legislation is based, there is the phrase "for the purposes of this directive, tomatoes, the edible part of rhubarb stalks, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water melons are considered to be fruit". This was introduced to pacify the Portuguese who are strongly into Carrot Marmalade and it is quite a delicacy!
Of course carrots are not botanically a fruit as they do not carry the seeds, and the above paragraph in the jam directive does not reclassify them as such, just allows them to be used as fruit.
Duerrs, the famous British Jam maker does not use any carrots in their products, although many years ago they did try carrot jam and tomato jam. It is recalled that this was to try out what the products would taste like due to the above mentioned in the jam directive. The unanimous conclusion at the time was that tomato jam was actually very nice but carrot jam was awful!
An Arab named Ibn al-Awan who was writing in Andalusiia in the early part of the 12th century. During that period the carrot travelled westward into the Mediterranean countries. Ibn al-Awam, in the Kitab al-Filahah - his book on Agriculture is the earliest surviving clear description of the carrot and mentions carrot jam thus:"carrot food preparations - when we eat [carrots] with vinegar, brine, olive oil, and certain vegetables or seed. It can also be a medicinal powder mixed with honey  and “dibs” which is a date syrup, and with sugar; one gets in this case a great result which ranks in the class of jams. It can also be eaten with sugary preparations (jams) and salted products; only its flavour was more agreeable with tea first; it was more nutritious and more suitable for the body. There is one species of wild carrot; the latter is rather used in medicine, while the cultivated species is more often used as food than a medicine." See full translation of the section on carrots here. (pdf)
An anonymous Andalusian Cook Book from the 13th century, gives recipes including for the Great Drink of Roots, Syrup of Carrots and Carrot Paste (jam) and a stew with carrots -
Carrot Paste [carrot jam]
Take a ratl [1 ratl=468g/1lb] of carrots, of which you have cleaned the interior [cut out the tough, bitter core]. Cook them in a ratl [1 ratl=468g/1lb] of water, some two boilings [mash them after the first boiling], then take it off the fire and let it drain a little, over a sieve.
Add it to three ratls [1 ratl=468g/1lb] of honey, cleaned of its foam [heated and skimmed], and cook all this until it takes the form of a paste. Then season it with ginger, galingale, cubeb and clove, half an ûqiya [1 ûqiya=39g/7tsp] in all for each ratl [1 ratl=468g/1lb] of paste.
Eat it like a nut at meals. Its benefits: it fortifies coitus and increases desire beautifully; it is admirable.Read full detail here - pdf. (Source: http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Andalusian/andalusian10.htm#Heading516)
The Shakers arrived in the US in the late 1770's bringing with them their recipes from the old country. Carrot Jam was a favourite:
8 good sized carrots, 1 lemon, 2 oranges, 2 tbs of sugar and 1 pinch of salt. In a medium saucepan with heavy bottom cook carrots, drain and mash. Put fruit through a food chopper and add pulp to carrot mash, along with sugar and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. When mixture reaches desired thickness, remove from heat. Pour into sterilised glass jars and seal with paraffin. From "old Shaker Recipes" Bear Wallow Books.
Standard Carrot Jam
Makes 4 half-pint jars; Prep Time: 20 minutes; Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chopped carrots to fill a 1 litre bowl (Four cups) of chopped carrots. Be sure to chop the carrots up nice and small; this will help bring out the carrots' flavours a lot easier. Three cups sugar; Three sliced lemons
One teaspoon cinnamon; A half teaspoon cloves
1. Add all the ingredients into a saucepan, and simmer slowly at a gentle heat. It is recommended that you stir the ingredients constantly, especially at the earlier stages of the cooking.
2. After about 20 minutes, the carrots should eventually begin to soften, and the jam will become thick. To make the jam smooth, put everything in a liquidiser and blend for a few minutes.
Obviously, the Victorians didn't have liquidisers, but the results are far more pleasing using this method.
Although the jam can be used immediately, the flavour improves more after a few days.
Jams From Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management 1861 (full Mrs Beeton's Book on line here)
Ingredients - Young carrots. To each Ib. of the prepared pulp allow 1 Ib. of preserving sugar, the strained juice of 2 lemons, and the finely grated rind of 6 finely-chopped bitter almonds, 2 tablespoonfuls of brandy.
Method. - Wash and scrape the carrots, cut each one into 3 or 4 pieces, them in a preserving pan with barely sufficient water to cover them, and simmer gently till tender. Drain well, pass through a fine sieve, weigh the pulp, and replace it in the preserving-pan with an equal amount of sugar. Bring slowly to boiling point for 5 mins stirring and skimming frequently. When cool, add the almonds, brandy, lemon juice and rind, turn into small pots, cover closely in a cool, dry place. If the brandy be omitted the jam will not keep. Time. From 50 to 60 minutes. Average Cost, about 5d. per Ib.
CARROT JAM TO IMITATE APRICOT PRESERVE
Ingredients -- Carrots; to every lb. of carrot pulp allow 1 lb. of pounded sugar, the grated rind of 1 lemon, the strained juice of 2 lemons, 6 chopped bitter almonds, 2 tablespoonfuls of brandy.
Method.-- Select young carrots; wash and scrape them clean, cut them into round pieces, put them into a saucepan with sufficient water to cover them, and let them simmer until perfectly soft; then beat them through a sieve.
Weigh the pulp, and to every lb. allow the above ingredients. Put the pulp into a preserving-pan with the sugar, and let this boil for 5 minutes, stirring and skimming all the time.
When cold, add the lemon-rind and juice, almonds and brandy; mix these well with the jam; then put it into pots, which must be well covered and kept in a dry place. The brandy may be omitted, but the preserve will then not keep: with the brandy it will remain good for months.
Time -- About ¾ hour to boil the carrots; 5 minutes to simmer the pulp. Average cost, 1s. 2d. for 1 lb. of pulp, with the other ingredients in proportion. Sufficient to fill 3 pots. Seasonable from July to December.
CARROT AND BEETROOT JAM
Ingredients - Equal weights of carrots and beetroot, sugar, lemons.
Method - Wash the beetroot, scrape the carrots, and boil them separately until tender. Pass through a coarse sieve, measure the puree, and to each pint allow 12 ozs. of sugar and the juice of 2 lemons. Place the whole in a preserving pan, boil gently for an hour, and turn preparation into pots. If it is intended to be kept some time, a glass of brandy should be added to each pint of jam before putting it into the pot. Keep closely covered in a dry, cool place. Time - About 1 hour. Average cost, about 5d. per Ib.
In 1909 in Mrs Rorers Vegetable Cookery Book (USA)
And another recipe:
6 large carrots cut up
6 Granny Smith Apples peeled and cored, cut into med pieces
1 lb Rhubarb cut up roughly
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Optional: cinnamon, gloves, orange or lemon peel zested, orange juice, star anise.......
Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Cream in blender and fill sterilized canning jars.
Tastes and looks like the finest apricot jam
A Modern Herbal, first published in 1931, by Mrs. M. Grieve, an English Horticulturist, contains Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs. Maud Grieve recounted a sturdy recipe for carrot jam –
Wash and grate some carrots; boil until reduced to a thick pulp. To 1lb of this pulp add 9oz sugar, the juice and grated rind of 2 lemons, and 3oz margarine. Boil the mixture well for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The result is a useful and inexpensive jam, which can be made for 6d to 8d (pre-decimal pence) a pound (according to the price of lemons), if all materials have to be bought, and for considerably less by those who have home grown carrots available.
During World War Two commercial jam was rationed, commencing in March 1941. The ration was 450g (1lb) every two months. As jam and marmalade were very much a part of British food culture, the Food Ministry were quick to create a viable alternative - Carrot Jam!
This jam was created by Dr. Carrot, who was a creation of the Ministry of Food during the Second World War. An interesting recipe to try!
Ingredients 2 1/2 lb small carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 1/2 lb caster/superfine sugar
Finely grated rind and strained juice of 2 lemons; finely grated rind and strained juice of 1 orange
Put the carrots into a large saucepan and add just enough water to cover. - Bring to the boil and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, or until soft.
Strain off and reserve the cooking water. Puree the carrots with 1/4 pint of the reserved cooking water in a food processor. Return to the pan.
Pour a further 1/4 pint of the reserved cooking water into a separate pan and add the sugar. Stir over a low heat until dissolved, brushing down the sides of the pan with hot water to keep it free of sugar crystals.
Add the sugar syrup to the carrot puree and stir in the lemon and orange rinds and juice. Bring to the boil over a low heat, stirring occasionally, and then boil rapidly for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and test for a set. - If necessary, boil the jam for a further 5 minutes and test again until setting point is reached. - Pour the jam into sterilised warm jars and cover immediately with waxed paper discs and cellophane covers. - Label when cool and store in a cool, dry airy cupboard.
Another variation of ww2 Jam -
One litre of grated or chopped carrots 3 cups of sugar a jar of honey 3 sliced lemons
1. Method - Add all the ingredients into a saucepan, and simmer slowly at a gentle heat. It is recommended that you stir the ingredients constantly, especially at the earlier stages of the cooking.
2. After about 20 minutes, the carrots should eventually begin to soften, and the jam will become thick.
3. To test jam is ready, place a spoonful on a chilled saucer, if it wrinkles when you push it, it is ready. 4. Store in jars
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