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 a whole and cooked with sugar and warm spices until a jam consistency is reached.
Have you ever tried an eggplant jam? I know that this might sound unusual to you, but in the Middle East, eggplant jam is actually a thing! 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 simmered with sugar as they are infused with warm sweet cinnamon and cloves until a jam consistency is reached.
This recipe is so fun to make, and you will love the fact that mini eggplants are left as whole fruit in the jam, which makes this jam even more fun to eat!
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 your local Middle Eastern grocer if they have “makdoos” available, 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 bitter then you’re good to go. If they’re really bitter, don’t buy 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 as frequently as 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.
More Great Eggplant Recipes
Here’s a list of my best eggplant recipes:
- Middle Eastern stuffed eggplants
- Vegan eggplant sandwich
- Eggplant and chickpea curry
- Baba ganoush
- Mtabbal eggplant dip
- Eggplant cinnamon jam
- 2 pounds (900g) mini eggplants
- 2 pounds (900g) granulated sugar
- 1 lemon juiced
- 4 cinnamon sticks whole
- 4 whole cloves
- dried green cardamom pods a few, optional
- 1 cup walnuts roughly 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 the water to remove bitterness.
- Again cover with fresh water, bring to boil then lower the heat to a simmer, add sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cardamom if using and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let the mixture sit at room temperature until the next day.
- On the next day, place the saucepan or pot with the jam on medium heat for about 20 minutes and allow to simmer. Remove from heat.
- On the third day, repeat the same steps as the second day, and at the end the add juice of one lemon, and walnuts, and remove from heat. Let the jam sit for about 20 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
- Do NOT cook the jam in one day, as the eggplants will become too soft and mushy and will fall apart.
- Adding walnuts is optional but they add a nice crunch and flavor to the jam.
- If you really like cinnamon you can add 1-2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon to the jam for a stronger taste.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen
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.