We doubt you’ll ever see a Kyrgyz table without jam. It might be surprising, but homemade jams are always on the table in Kyrgyzstan, regardless of the wealth of the family. If you’re invited over for tea or for a meal at a Kyrgyz’s family during your trip in Kyrgyzstan, you’ll see that the minimum they will give you is always bread and jam.
During meals in Kyrgyzstan, there is always a lot of food set on the table: salads, candy, biscuits, fruits, dry fruits and nets, honey and, of course, jam, which is usually added to tea.
Most of the jams you’ll see in Kyrgyzstan are homemade. Making jam has become a real tradition in Kyrgyzstan, and each family has its recipe. It’s understandable when you know that the climate is harsh and it’s difficult to find fruits in the winter.
Summer, on the other hand, has a perfect climate for the culture of fruits and vegetables. The land in Kyrgyzstan is very fertile, and in the markets you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables every day. At the end of the summer and in the fall, families start making jams, canned vegetables and salads, to use in the winter. The markets are emptied as everyone buys enough fruits and vegetables to prepare for the winter.
When Kyrgyz make jams, the whole family gets together. Although men rarely cook in Kyrgyzstan, they sometimes help when it comes to making jams and bottling.
Here’s a recipe of delicious homemade strawberry jam.
1 kg of strawberries and 1 kg of sugar (you can change the amount as long as you keep the proportions)
Clean the strawberries under cold water, take out the sepals, and put them in a large container. Add the sugar, mix, and leave the preparation for 5 to 6 hours.
Then, put it in a pot and boil the jam. Cook it for around 5 min on a mild fire, and take out the foam. If you want transparent jam, you can take out the fruits once your jam has boiled, and continue baking the syrup.
After this first step, let it cool down for around 10 hours. Then boil it again for around 5 minutes. Finally, pour the jam in small sterilized jars and close them.
You’re ready for winter and you’ll be able to enjoy a taste of summer in the cold!