About preserved food

Fruit that has been preserved with sugar can be enjoyed with bread, but can also be used as a sweetener in baking and cooking.

There are different varieties - whole fruit pieces of preserved fruit (heelvrug konfyt), konserf (usually a mixture of two or more fruits), fine jam made from ripe fruit which complements a slice of freshly baked bread with butter, fruit jelly, marmalade made from citrus fruit, and selei (sweetened fruit puree used for cake or tart fillings).

Apricot jam (appelkooskonfyt) is South Africa's favourite jam. It is quite versatile; apart from spreading it over bread, it is used to sweeten and flavour dishes such as bobotie and curry, and in baking such as vinegar pudding, sago pudding, Hertzoggies and Jan Smutsies.

In New Zealand, we buy the Craigs brand of Apricot Reduced Sugar Fruit Spread, which might be classified as a fine jam as well as a selei. It is stocked by New World and Countdown and can be found in the jam aisle.

Fig jam is another popular South African jam. In fact, Marietjie’s mum used to say “I love you as much as fig jam” to people she really liked. Koo Fig Jam is available in South African shops, and also in Countdown’s imported section.

As a matter of interest, it seems that Raspberry jam is the most popular jam in New Zealand and is used extensively in Kiwi baking.

There are many fine New Zealand Strawberry jams too, and we use Craigs Strawberry Reduced spread.

Waatlemoenkonfyt (watermelon jam) and green fig preserve are traditional South-African whole fruit jam.

Green fig preserve is lovely with wholegrain bread and butter, irresistible on a cheese platter, and goes very well with buttermilk pudding. The whole preserved figs are also delicious on their own, especially when lovingly served up on cake plates with tea or coffee, as they did in the Old Cape.

Marietjie received a bottle of green fig preserve as a gift a few years ago, made from green figs from the fig tree in her late paternal grandmother’s backyard. We opened the bottle recently and found it to be in perfect condition.