Easy Carrot Jam – A Sweet Persian Condiment
Yes, carrot jam is a thing. It’s been made in the Middle East since at least the 12th century. In Iran, carrot jam is flavoured with cardamom, rose and sometimes saffron. In this Persian inspired easy carrot jam recipe, I’ve used all three. It’s wonderful eaten just as it is on toast, but it also makes a delicious accompaniment to salty cheese.
Easy Carrot Jam (Moraba-ye Havij)
It’s jam, but not as you know it. It’s more like soft candied carrot. You can still use it in exactly the same way as jam, though it doesn’t spread as you’d expect. The texture is more like a coarse marmalade. Indeed, carrot marmalade was quite a popular recipe in WW2. It’s this quality that makes Persian carrot jam (moraba-ye havij) so easy to make. Unlike traditional British jam, you don’t need to worry about a setting point. You just keep cooking until most of the liquid has disappeared.
The recipe requires citrus to temper any sweetness and add additional flavour. In traditional Persian jam, either limes or oranges are used. I’ve made mine with the zest and juice of two limes and a lemon. Saffron is entirely optional, but if you have some to hand, it does add a depth of colour and some extra floral notes. The flavours of cardamom and rose shine through and transform this rather mundane vegetable into something decidedly exotic. Some sort of alchemy occurs during the cooking process, turning a base of carrot into gold.
When it comes to the all important rose flavour, you can use rosewater, rose extract* or my rose syrup. I used the latter, of course. Use whole cardamom pods for this recipe, but just crush them lightly so that the seeds can properly infuse the jam. I leave the seeds in when potting the jam up and just warn everyone in advance, but you could fish them out beforehand if you prefer.
The quantity in the recipe below makes five small jars.
Carrot Jam’s Potted History
Mrs Beeton, way back in 1861, wrote a recipe for carrot jam which looks and behaves more like you’d expect a jam to do. But this Persian inspired easy carrot jam appeals to me more. An Arab in Andalusia recorded the first known recipe. It used honey rather than sugar and was flavoured with ginger and cloves. The Shakers brought carrot jam to the US in the 1770s and they used sugar. I have a recipe from Mrs M Grieve in A Modern Herbal published in 1931, so it looks like carrot jam was a ‘thing’ in the UK until relatively recently. I’ll forgo Maude’s inclusion of margarine, however.
Carrots for Breakfast?
In Iran, carrot jam is often eaten for breakfast along with bread and fresh cheese. I tried some of my easy carrot jam with salty feta cheese in a warm pitta bread and it was delicious. I’ve been having it for lunch rather than breakfast, but I feel I’ve got a glimpse of the real deal.
Easy Carrot Preparation
The only conceivable part of this recipe that might not be easy is grating this number of carrots. Hopefully, you have a food processor* to do this for you. You can find out more about my Von Shef 1000 on my Granny’s apple pie post. It’s what I use for anything more than one carrot. Grating them all by hand is just one step too far.
Other unusual recipes using carrots you might like
- Air-fryer carrot falafel via Tin and Thyme
- Baked carrot fries via Hungry Healthy Happy
- Borscht with beets & carrot greens via Chez Maxima
- Carrot, cabbage & cheddar mini muffins via Tin and Thyme
- Carrot cake flapjacks via Tin and Thyme
- Cheese courgette & carrot balls via Mummy Mishaps
- Carrot top pesto via Fuss Free Flavours
- How to make carrot bacon via Yumsome
- Orange, carrot & pineapple juice via Farmersgirl Kitchen
- Carrot halwa via F for Flavour
- Carrot pickles via Tin and Thyme
- Pineapple, ginger & carrot juice via Unconditionally Nourished
- Smoky paprika coleslaw via Kavey Eats
- Roasted carrot hummus by Le Coin de Mel but via A Mummy Too
- Wholemeal carrot soda bread rolls via Sneaky Veg
For more carrot inspiration take a look at my Carrot Recipes Pinterest Board. Whether you’re looking for soups, salads, sides, bakes or something else, you’ll be sure to find something you like.
I’m sharing this exotic easy carrot jam recipe with Recipes Made Easy for #CookBlogShare.
Easy Carrot Jam – The Recipe
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Easy Carrot Jam – The Recipe
Easy Persian Carrot Jam (Moraba-ye Havij)
- 800 g coarsely grated carrots
- 8 cardamom pods lightly crushed to open the pods a little
- 500 ml water
- 500 g golden caster sugar
- 2 limes - organic or at least unsprayed
- 1 lemon - organic or at least unsprayed
- pinch saffron threads (optional)
- 1 tbsp rosewater or 2 tbsp rose syrup or 4-6 drops rose extract
- Place the carrots, cardamom pods and water in a large pan. A preserving pan is ideal but any large saucepan is fine.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
- Add the sugar and saffron if using and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Finely grate the lime zest and stir in.
- Bring to the boil again and boil without a lid for 15 to 20 minutes when most of the liquid should have evaporated and the carrots soft.
- Add the juice of the limes and lemon about ten minutes after adding the sugar.
- Spoon into sterilised jars whilst hot and cover.
- Will keep in the fridge for several weeks.
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