Cinnamon eggplant jam with walnuts is a unique Middle Eastern recipe that will make your whole house smell like Christmas! Mini eggplants are kept as whole and cooked with sugar and spice until a jam consistency is reached.
Have you ever tried an eggplant jam? I know that this might sound unusual to you, but yes we make jam with eggplants! It’s a Middle Eastern delicacy that’s popular in Jordan, Palestine, and Syria (I believe that it originated from Syria). Mini eggplants are slowly cooked with sugar as they are infused with cinnamon and cloves until a jam consistency is reached.
The interesting this is that the mini eggplants are left as whole fruits, and that makes eating them really fun!
WHAT KIND OF EGGPLANTS ARE USED TO MAKE THIS JAM?
In Jordan, there’s only one variety of mini-eggplants that’s sold in stores and they’re the mini/small globe eggplants that you can see in the image below.
You have to make sure that the eggplants used to make this jam are not bitter. This is probably the most important thing in this recipe. My mother taught me to always taste the eggplants prior to buying them, and it goes like this:
- Ask the local grocery shop owner if they have “makdoos” which is the Arabic name for mini eggplants.
- Ask if they’re bitter. His answer will be that they’re sweet, and you can even taste them.
- Use your hands to break one in half, and taste a small piece of the raw eggplant from the middle. All of them will have a slightly bitter taste, but if it’s not too obvious then you’re good to go. If they’re bitter, leave them.
Now, what if you already bought the eggplants, and they’re a bit bitter?
Soak the eggplants in water and leave them overnight. Change the water every 3 hours or whenever is possible.
HOW TO MAKE EGGPLANT JAM?
Before you start, you should be aware that this recipe takes 3 days to make. The reason is that if you cook the jam at once, the eggplants will be too soft and will turn into mush. Instead, we cook the eggplants in 3 stages and end up with candied eggplants in a spiced thick syrup.
Peel the skin of the eggplants, and have a taste and check if there is a bitterness to the eggplants. If they are bitter, then soak them overnight in cold water. If not, then go to step 2.
Step 2. *DAY ONE*
In a large pot or saucepan, put the eggplants and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and change the water. Again, this will help get rid of the naturally bitter taste in the eggplants.
Cover the eggplants in fresh water in the same pot, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, add sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Cook for 20 minutes, then switch off the heat, cover with a lid and let it stand at room temperature until the next day.
Step 4. *DAY TWO*
On the next day, let the mixture simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes then switch off the heat. Cover with a lid and let it stand at room temperature until the next day.
Step 5. *DAY THREE*
Repeat what you did on day 2 by letting the mixture boil for 20 minutes, then at the end just add lemon juice and crushed walnuts. Remove from heat, and let the jam cool down for 20 minutes or so. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
The walnuts in this recipe are completely optional, but I strongly recommend that you add them! They give a lovely taste and crunch to the jam.
Store the jam jars in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.
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- 1 kg eggplants small
- 1 kg sugar
- 1 lemon juiced
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- water just to cover the eggplants in the pot/saucepan
- Peel the skin off the eggplants (if bitter you have to soak in water overnight).
- Place eggplants in a large saucepan/pot and cover with water, bring to boil then change water so remove bitterness.
- Again cover with clean water, bring to boil then lower the heat, add sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Turn off, cover pan with lid, and let the mixture stand at room temperature until the next day.
- On the next day, place saucepan or pot with the jam on medium heat for 20 minutes and simmer.
- On the third day, repeat what you did on the second day, and at the end add juice of one lemon, walnuts, and remove from heat. Let jam stand for about 20 minutes. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.
*walnuts are optional
*if you like cinnamon you can add a tbsp or 2 of ground cinnamon to the jam for a stronger taste.
This recipe was first posted on Little Sunny Kitchen in September 2015. Then updated with new pictures in June 2019. The recipe remained the same.