Can Jam #2: “Carrot” – (1) Morabbâ-Ye Haveej (Persian Carrot Jam)

What is Morabbâ-Ye Haveej? I didn’t know either before I made it for Tigress’ Can Jam. This challenge focuses on a given fruit or vegetable, and all the participants have to come up with interesting recipes. This month’s focus is: CARROTS.

My first thought was: OMG, I’m going to skip this month’s challenge. I do like carrots, but only fresh or frozen ones that I put in a meal. I just can’t stand canned or pickled carrots. So I knew it would have to be on the sweet side. But carrots in a jam? I’ve never heard of a carrot jam. And how would I know it’s acidic enough so I wouldn’t kill the people eating  my jam with botulism? I consider myself an experienced canner and adventurous with recipes, but I was a little afraid of this whole botulism thing. So I asked my friend Sara if there was something in the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving”. There was, so I ordered it. I think it will be a good companion in the next few months.

Meanwhile, I was flipping through one of my Middle Eastern cookbooks to find a nice dinner recipe. And then I stumbled upon this recipe: Morabbâ-Ye Haveej. I read through it and immediately knew that this was what I was going to make for this month’s Can Jam. It’s a traditional Persian carrot jam with orange and cardamom. The recipe calls for rose water, which I don’t have on hand so I searched the internet where I could find it. I read that it should be possible to order it at a pharmacy, so I called our local pharmacy, and, indeed, they could order it for me. I had all the other ingredients on hand or could easily retrieve them at our grocery store.

Here’s the recipe (adapted from “The Middle Eastern Kitchen” by Ghillie Başan):

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
  • Juice of 2 small oranges, and the peel, cut into slivers
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tblsp rose water
  • Seeds of 5-6 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, cut into slivers

I dissolved the sugar  in the water and brought it to a boil, stirring all the time. Then I added the carrots and orange peel and returned to a boil. After about 10 minutes I puréed everything (I didn’t want any carrot chunks in the jam) and let it boil for some more minutes. I stirred in the rose water (the recipe calls for 2 tblsp, but the smell was soooo intense that I decided to use only 1 1/2 tblsp), orange and lemon juice, cardamom (I had no clue how much the seeds of 5-6 cardamom pods are, so I took about 1 tsp), and almond slivers, and boiled it for another 5 minutes. The jam didn’t really want to set, so I added some teaspoons of locust bean gum (also known as carob gum or carob bean gum, which can be used as a thickening agent). I was pretty sure that the orange and lemon juice already would add enough acidity to the jam, but just to be on the safe side I added 2 teaspoons of citric acid.

Before I processed the jam I checked the pH level. Yes, I DID buy some test sticks. As you can see in the picture, the pH level was 3,6 – not even close to the “border” of 4,6. I poured the jam in the sterilized, hot jars, closed the jars, put them in my electric waterbath canner and processed them for 10 minutes at 90°C.

I never would have imagined that a carrot jam could be so yummy. But yes, it really IS yummy. I would definitely make it again, but would add a little less rose water because that was kind of dominant in the jam. And the weird thing about this jam is: nobody could even tell that there were carrots in there. Probably because nobody would expect carrots to be in a jam… If you want to read about my second carrot project, follow this link.

Check out some fellow canners’ carrot posts here:

22 responses to “Can Jam #2: “Carrot” – (1) Morabbâ-Ye Haveej (Persian Carrot Jam)

  1. Good thing you added the citric acid….I have test strips too that I use just to check on stuff. Sounds delicious – I love Middle Eastern food and would love to try it…it would be fun if we could find a way to have a Can Jam exchange. Where do you live?

  2. UH OH! We had the same idea! LOL
    Yours looks great! It is a really tasty jam, isn’t it? It doesn’t scream carrots, which I think is good.
    Nice pH meter BTW!

  3. Cool! I’m so inspired by your Persian modified recipe. My pal emailed me an Indian recipe that was like a carrot fudge ordeal.

    Where’d you get your pH meter strips?

  4. All you have to say is Persian and I’m in. However, I have to ask: is a pH test stick all you really need, though? I’ve read that it’s not quite as easy as all that. Not to be a bummer or anything, but…

    • Well, when you have big chunks in there, I guess, it might be a problem, because the inner of the chunk might have a different pH level, but when it’s puréed (and this is what I did), you should be safe. Also, by adding citric acid you lower the pH level, and there is orange and lemon juice in there, so the jam should be fine even if it’s not in the Ball Book… I know the USDA is really strict about everything, but here in Germany the rules are way less strict and I don’t think we have more botulism cases here. Anyway, when making a jam with a low acidic fruit or vegetable and there’s no approved recipe for exactly that fruit, you should check the ratio of acidic things in there compared to approved recipes.

  5. I just might have to try making this one. I’m thinking I might like this even more than my celestial carrot marmalade…hadn’t thought of pureeing the carrots.

  6. This sounds great! I love the flavors here – and yes, rosewater is pretty powerful stuff. A little goes a very long way. So is that a safe pH level? I thought it had to be higher?

  7. This sounds fabulous; I love the flavor combinations. And, really, carrots are pretty sweet, so it makes sense that they would make a delicious jam.

    FYI, I have a pumpkin soup recipe that calls for cardamom pods, and it says the 3 green cardamom pods = 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom. So it looks like you guessed right!

    I’ve never had good luck with pH strips because the color of the preserve tends to get in the way of the color of the strip… plus, I’m just too much of a science geek. I need the digits.🙂

  8. Hmmm…the fact that this has cardamom is very interesting to me. I have a nice big jar of rose water I should make an effort to use…

  9. Great answer, ap. You certainly take it seriously, which is appreciated!

  10. The answer to the pH question is “yes, it really is as simple as that”. Most canning recommendations state that you should get down to a pH of 4.2 for pickles. As long as the mixture has been well mixed, cooked, or, if chunky) given a little time for the acidity to equilibrate, the pH can be measure very accurately with a simple test strip. If you are concerned about chunks, just go a touch lower in pH. But seriously, people have been preserving for thousands of years using poor cleaning (let alone sterilization) and no knowledge of pH and we’re still here – so be aware, but don’t be afraid.

    • Thanks a lot for this statement. I’ve been making jam for a couple of years now and have never bothered to check the pH level. I just started doing that now for Tigress’ Can Jam because I knew people would probably doubt that my jams are acidic enough – so just to make sure everything is safe I include the pH level check😉.

  11. This looks great – none of the carrot cake jams tickled my fancy, but this one might have to be made by me.

    I cook a fair amount with rose water and it can get overpowering very fast. I usually put in half to a quarter of what a recipe calls for and then slowly add little bits until it is at a flavor I like.

    2 T is a HUGE amount of rose water and I can imagine that it all but overpowers everything else.

  12. this looks delicious! i love persian food – and IMO they really are the masters of jams and sweet preserves, (actually what am i saying, they have pickles down too!).🙂

    and i love that you are taking the pH stuff seriously. yes it’s true that the USDA is strict, but while humans have been preserving for thousands of years, they have only been hot water bath sealing jars for less than 150 – and there were quite a number of fatalities back in the early days. but all this means is just mind the acid!🙂

  13. oooh, delicious! I’ll have to try making this!

  14. Very interesting indeed! I’ve just been working on a Persian-style marmalade, quite similar. I think a little rosewater work perk it up, though: http://totastings.blogspot.com/2010/03/recipe-for-persian-style-three-fruit.html

    Cheers!

  15. Sounds delicious will try it however I live in the country area of jamaica and never heard about cardamom

  16. How many jars did your recipe yield?

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