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Alive in only a few regions, jam seems like an unusual use for aubergines but is exceptionally good and quite the Turkish breakfast party showstopper. This sweet and tart preserve has hints of cinnamon and cloves and a bold pekmez (molasses) undertone. 

  Original recipe & blog post from July 2018 updated with new pictures & details July 20202.

Basket of baby aubergines on a napkin, two have falled down. String tied bundle of cinnamon sticks and copper bowl of cloves imply spicy cooking.
Baby aubergines for Patlıcan reçeli

 

Nope, you didn't read that wrong.

*Best Peter Kay Voice*

Jam?!

Aubergine?!

Aubergine jam?!

 

It's an unusual use for aubergines, I hear you but it so good, and you need to try it at least once unless you already did and you still can't get your head around it so you've googled Turkish aubergine jam and found me.

Which is exactly what happened to me, I enjoyed an unidentifiable jam one story day at a breakfast place at nearby Lake Bafa. So it that's that case for you too, yup I can confirm it there really is an aubergine sweet preserve in Turkey.

Exploring Markets & Making Aubergine Jam

Actually there three I've come across so far, one uses pickling lime, something I've yet to work up the courage to face, and a very similar one to this I'm presenting here but minus the grape molasses. 

 

 

Historic resources show aubergine jams popularity in the Ottoman kitchens and the production of it going as far back as the 16th century but I gather there are very few regions who still keep the tradition of aubergine jam alive, Antalya a popular tourist region in the med and Iğdır in eastern Anatolia.  

Ideally, baby aubergine should be used to make this unique Turkish jam but they're not that easy to find, you may be able to find them in a small village pazar but most likely you'll need an aubergine grower, or simply grown them yourself. 

The baby aubergines should be kept whole for a really striking effect but if you cant get your hands on them, seedless or purple stripe aubergines work, just check they're not too bitter. If so soaking them in water overnight will help with that.

 

Small olive wood chopping board with one whole and half peeled baby aubergines and a yellow slicer.
Sliced but whole baby aubergines are perfect for Turkish aubergine preserve

 

Keep them whole also offers the opportunity to serve them as a sweet treat alongside Turkish coffee much like Candied Bitter Orange Curls - Turunç Reçeli, a dated custom of hospitality. 

The first time I made the jam I used larger stripy aubergines using a recipe from one of my favourite Turkish pantry books called, Don't buy it ready, make it yourself! It worked well but I found the pekmez overpowering, I knew I wanted to keep it in there it but I'm happy with just a tablespoon it's a bold background. 

 

I hope you'll brave it too because I think just like me it'll become an annual make you'll enjoy presenting to guests for a guessing game. 

 

Christa

 

Slice of toasted bread with labne and aubergine jam mashed ontop. Small bowl shows whole preserve peeled aubergines, half fill jar of jam and used knife sets the breakfast scene. Small daffodil hand painted jug and large book in background.
Keeping the baby aubergines whole makes for a fun sweet too.

 

 

Aubergine Jam Patlıcan reçeli

Alive in only a few regions, jam seems like an unusual use for aubergines but is exceptionally good and quite the Turkish breakfast party showstopper. This sweet and tart preserve has hints of cinnamon and cloves and a bold pekmez undertone. 

Prep

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Category: Essentials & For The Pantry Desserts, Drinks & Sweet Treats
Seasons
Cuisine Type Turkish

Ingredients

Turkish aubergine jam

350 Grams Baby aubergines
300 Grams Sugar
1 Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Cloves
1/4 Cinnamon stick
1 Tablespoon Grape vinegar
1 Tablespoon Grape molasses (Pekmez)

Aubergine Jam Patlıcan reçeli Directions

  1. Wash & Peel the aubergines
  2. If using baby aubergines keep them whole, if using larger seedless variety cut them into thick wedges.
  3. Steam (or boil) the aubergines until cooked, this usually takes me around 15 minutes for baby aubergines but it depends on how ripe they are and when they were picked.
  4. In a saucepan place the sugar, water, lemon juice and spices and allow to boil.
  5. When boil has been reached turn down to a rolling boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the aubergines to the sugar syrup and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for around fifteen minutes.
  8. Place back on the heat and add in the molasses and vinegar.
  9. Repeat the boil for a further 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes while you heat washed jars and wet jars in the oven (Preheated to 160°C - lids boiled in water)
  11. Place the jams into sterilized jars.

Recipe notes

  • Recipe is based on a recipe from Hazır Alma Kendin Yap! By Hülya Erol.

 

  • Baby aubergines which are around from finger to palm-size are perfect for making this jam but larger seedless ones also work well. I have used the light purple striped aubergines that had seeds successfully.

 

  • Finding baby aubergine sin the market isn't that easy but if you grow your own aubergines you'll be able to pick them as desired. Look for around 350 - 500 grams. 

 

  • Adjust the sugar quantity accordingly to the weight of aubergines 500 grams = 425 grams sugar. The quantities of other ingredients work as well for both 350 and 500.

 

  • Serve as a breakfast jam chopped/mashed fine or whole as a sweet treat. 

 

  • Cooking times vary for the aubergine so keep your eye on them

Reviews 3/5

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Pinable image for jam. Picture with slice of toasted bread with labne and aubergine jam mashed ontop. Text overlay: The most surprising Ottoman jam at the breakfast table. Exploring The Turkish Kitchen
Pinable image showing baby aubergines in a basket with cinnamon and cloves aside. Text overlay: Patlıcan reçeli. Turjish Aubegine jam. Exploring The Turkish Kitchen
Pinable image for jam. Picture with slice of toasted bread with labne and aubergine jam mashed ontop. Text overlay: Turkish jam recipes. Exploring The Turkish Kitchen
 
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