Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


What recipe is my mom trying to make?
July 12, 2012 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Mountains of sugar and fruit in glass jars in the pantry: What the heck is my mother making?

The recipe as far as I can decipher:
Ingredients:

1. Gallon-sized glass jar w/lid
2. Pounds of brown sugar
3. Assorted soft fruits

Stored in a dark pantry, checked and mixed daily.
What is this going to end up as? She said it isn't alcohol and as long as there's enough sugar it won't turn into vinegar... sooo... what on earth is she trying to make? Anyone have any idea? Is this being done correctly? I feel like there's going to be a giant messy explosion of diabetic proportions about to occur out of one of these jars. Anyone?
posted by french films about trains to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
She won't tell you? Or she doesn't know? Or something? I'm confused.
posted by sucre at 6:58 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems like she's making jam.
posted by QueenHawkeye at 7:00 PM on July 12, 2012


I don't remember what it's called, but years ago I made something like this to serve over ice cream, with yogurt, etc. Back in the 70s, this was sometimes given as a gift around the holidays, with instructions to keep adding fruit and sugar to the jar.
posted by she's not there at 7:00 PM on July 12, 2012


Sugaring?
posted by zamboni at 7:00 PM on July 12, 2012


On second thought, I believe the recipe I used called for a bit of brandy. I also stored mine in the fridge, although this was not supposed to be necessary.
posted by she's not there at 7:07 PM on July 12, 2012


Sounds like Amish friendship cake fruit starter My mom did this once in the 80s.
posted by lotus-eater at 7:08 PM on July 12, 2012


Is it dry sugar, or sugar syrup? If it's syrup, she may be making glacé fruit.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 7:13 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


>She won't tell you? Or she doesn't know? Or something? I'm confused.

She won't tell me, probably because she doesn't know the proper English translation of whatever it is she is trying to make.

I too, am confused.
posted by french films about trains at 7:21 PM on July 12, 2012


Doesn't seem to be any of the things linked so far; there's no alcohol, and the fruits aren't being preserved in any form.

Each jar has only 1 type of fruit in it, and the sugar is regular light-brown sugar.

When she was making it she described it as a sort of medicine that you drink with water, not any type of dessert.
posted by french films about trains at 7:25 PM on July 12, 2012


What non-English speaking culture is your Mom part of?
posted by maudlin at 7:26 PM on July 12, 2012


maudlin: she's from Korea! Sorry, probably should have mentioned that from the start.
posted by french films about trains at 7:28 PM on July 12, 2012


I took the liberty of looking at your previous answers and saw that you're Korean, is it possible that she's making a modified Korean fruit-jelly tea?
posted by acidic at 7:29 PM on July 12, 2012


(specifically I meant something like yujacha, which basically looks like watery marmalade and is a cold remedy, right?)
posted by acidic at 7:31 PM on July 12, 2012


acidic: hmm. It sounds about right except she's not using any type of citrus fruit. I've actually never heard of yujacha but that sounds like a fun new project to make with her!

In one of the jars she used raspberries, and the other jar has apricots. Pretty sure they will not be mixed together at any point. She was mostly concerned about the jars of goo not turning into vinegar. I feel like she's making some kind of super concentrated medicinal wine but she insists (insists) it's not alcoholic.
posted by french films about trains at 7:37 PM on July 12, 2012


I'm still confused as to why you can't just ask your mother instead of asking us to guess.
posted by Dasein at 7:57 PM on July 12, 2012


Oh, apricots? Then I'd say she's making this:
When this time of year rolls around, boxes of the fragrant plums are hauled home and bags of sugar and huge jars are brought out. Alternating layers of clean, green maesil and sugar are stacked in jars and left in a cool, dry place to ferment.
Another picture here. With the raspberries, she may be either attempting a modified syrup, or she's making bokbunja ju (raspberry wine) and it has such low alcohol content that she doesn't see it that way.
posted by acidic at 7:58 PM on July 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


(And the Korean/English internet is advanced enough that yes, you can ask her the Korean name, and you will find a billion English websites about it)
posted by acidic at 7:59 PM on July 12, 2012


Also, you say "the fruits aren't being preserved in any form" but packing fruit into sugar is a form of preservation. Many cultures use/used this is as a way to keep fruit around past its prime...the sugar is massively hygroscopic, and will pull water as easily from bacteria as it does the surrounding air. So it is preserving, in pretty much the same way that salting meat is preserving.
posted by griffey at 8:10 PM on July 12, 2012


I think acidic has it. The reason your mom is saying it's not alcohol is because Koreans don't think of these fruit syrups/jellies as liquor, the fruit concoctions are considered medicinal.

(Yujacha is really good in winter, although my mom makes it with honey.)
posted by needled at 8:26 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dasein: It may be that she also doesn't know exactly what it's called and is trying to save face in her Korean Mom way by not telling me what it is called.

griffey: I only meant that the fruits weren't being dried beforehand, which I believe one of the links stated.

acidic: I think this may be it. She isn't using ume plums but the desrciption of "layers of sugar and plums" sounds like what she's doing. Thank you for your diligence!
posted by french films about trains at 8:30 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


BELIEVE ME EVERYONE, I DID ASK HER WHAT IT'S CALLED BUT I WASN'T GIVEN AN ANSWER. Ultra-vagueness. That's just how my mom rolls.
posted by french films about trains at 8:31 PM on July 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


It sounds about right except she's not using any type of citrus fruit.

Assuming she's not living in Korea now, could she also be modifying the recipe to use whatever local fruit seems similar to ume or whatever, and is vague because she's not really sure whether it will come out right, or doesn't want to catch flak for doing it nontraditionally, or etc.? I, uhhhh, a person I know is sometimes reticent about their projects in cases like that.
posted by hattifattener at 12:22 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


It sounds a lot like friendship cake starter.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:59 AM on July 13, 2012


>could she also be modifying the recipe to use whatever local fruit seems similar to ume or whatever, and is vague because she's not really sure whether it will come out right, or doesn't want to catch flak for doing it nontraditionally, or etc.?

Haha, hattifattener, my mom does these "substitutions" all the time and has learned not to announce such endeavors since they almost always turn out incorrect. Good to know she is not alone in this ;)
posted by french films about trains at 12:10 PM on July 13, 2012


I was going to mention my mother is also reticent about talking about some of her culinary endeavors, sometimes because she isn't sure it will turn out right or if she's doing it right, but sometimes because she's doing something she'd never imagined she'd be doing. Like making something she only associates old dudes eating, or trying to make from scratch something only little old ladies from the Korean countryside in the 19th century would be making from scratch.
posted by needled at 12:27 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just sounds like standard old-fashioned fruit preserves to me. If there's lots of types in one jar, I think it's "compote".
posted by windykites at 9:15 PM on August 18, 2012


« Older First installment of significa...   |  Where can I buy three black be... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.