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Last chance for kızılcık jam

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Kızılcık, the bright red beauty of this pale but peaceful autumn..

Maybe I should call it the autumn ruby..

I mean, yes, cornels or cornelian cherry (or Cornus mas)..

Not bright red always , there are many varieties in this Anatolia, one of which is has a color between light brown and orange. Actually this was the type I knew in the name of ‘kızılcık’, like most of the Central-Anatolian people, therefore, I was extremely surprised when I met those big ( as big as an olive),  bright, and a little juicy , transparent- red fruits called ‘ergen’ , in Elmalı (Antalya) , as I didn’t expect that there was any fruit left that I had never heard of in this country..

This was still  a mystery when I met smaller varieties of it around Burdur, with a slightly different taste, still called ‘ergen’ , yet called kızılcık by some of the local people. Finally, in this Isparta town I live, I started seeing them on the trees  with hanging  down branches full of these red fruits, some of which you could freely pick , while the summer was gradually turning to autumn..

One day, those fruits looking like an invitation for a healthy life attracted me so much that I decided to give it a try and make some jam..

I set to work, and when the fruits boiling with sugar started smelling like a kızılcık jam, the mystery was totally solved.

Their taste was somehow different than the kızılcık I knew, when eaten  raw, but while boiling, the fantastic aroma of  kızılcık jam invaded the whole house…

Let them call it ergen or kızılcık, but don’t miss that chance before they disappear from the market..

Just make some jam or make an Ottoman syrup: the famous kızılcık şerbeti..

For şerbet, the ratio between sugar and fruit depends on you..for 1 kg of fruit, a minimum of ½ kg of sugar  is needed, but if you love syrups like an Ottoman, more sugar you can add..and if you take the risk of shadowing the  aroma of the fruit, you can add a bit of cinammon , even cloves...then you will have an Ottoman syrup of kızılcık.

Fruits are boiled first, then filtered, water with sugar is boiled seperately and they are mixed (depending on the thickness you want, decide on the quantity of water).

 When boiling is over, you can add a few drops of lemmon juice. This is rather for preservation.

As to my recipe of kızılcık jam, I just use 1 kg of fruit for 1 kg of sugar. The fruits are steeped in sugar overnight, actually I crash the fruits a little, to let them contact with sugar,  before soaked in it. Before boiling, I check if the water released by fruits is enough to start boiling. If yes, I put it on heat.  When they become smooth enough in boling water, I take the water and pulp out by rubbing the material through a cullender, and let the juice and  pulp boil again, until it becomes thick..

Like the other jams, it becomes thicker as it gets cold, but thicker than you may expect..

In other words, it is rich in pectin. (Don't forget to add lemmon juice for preservation)

The fruits don’t lie, when they make an invitation for a healthy life..

From cystitis to sleeping disorders, diabetes or some cancer types, there is a long list of medical properties attributed to this fruit, even to the bark of its tree..

Recently somebody told me that its seeds, when boiled,  provide relief from influenza..

However, there is one part of the tree that cannot be mentioned in the context of health.. The best sticks to beat somebody is made of cornel sticks (or dogwood sticks) as they are flexible yet never broken! The Ottomans did not only enjoy delicious syrups made of cornels but they knew how to educate lazy pupils under the supervision  of hodjas!:bruce:

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