Human use of the sacred Marula tree dates back to 10 000 BC, and the trees can be found spread across the African continent from Ethiopia to wooded hills of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. This deciduous tree bears a golden yellow, plum size fruit and can bear up to 500 kg of fruit per year! It is interesting to note that the Scelercarya Birrea sub species Caffera has a male and female tree and only the females bear the fruit. This tart, tasty fruit has four times more Vitamin C than an Orange and is well known among Traditional Healers for its medicinal properties which they use to treat diarrhea , dysentery , rheumatism, insect bites and is also administered as a malaria prophylactic
One of my favorite food memories of growing up in the Figtree area of Zimbabwe , was a Peanut Butter and Marula Jelly sandwich and crunchy homemade Marula biscuits . Mum used to buy the nuts harvested Marula kernels from the local farm laborers wives and used them in her biscuit recipes. While Dad has never been the cook in our home unless on the braai, he loves making jams and jelly’s. This recipe was passed down from a jelly recipe from Ouma Van Wyk, who was a master at making jams , Marmalade and Jelly and won many a trophy the Hwange Agricultural Show in her day. This is tastes really good served with Venison , Liver Pate and Pork Chops. So if you live in a safari area where you have Marula trees – this is a must have for your table at your lodge.
2.5 kg of fruit should harvest around 3 bottles of Marula Jelly
You can use a mix of green Marula’s in with your ripe yellow fruit. The green Marula’s have more pectin. Cut through the skins and cover in a bowl of water for 24 hours.
Add fruit to a large pot and cover with the water and boil for 25 minutes . Strain the contents of the pot through muslin or cheesecloth and keep the juice.
Use 1 cup of marula juice to 1 cup sugar ration
2 tablespoons of 1 lemon per Liter of juice
Once measured out – pour back into a big pot , make sure there is space so it does not bubble over. Boil for about 25 mins or until the your sugar thermometer reaches 105 degrees Celsius. You can check by dropping your syrup on a cold plate – wait for it to cool – if you push it , it should wrinkle.
Sterilize your jars in a hot oven and boil the lids in boiling water – store in the fridge once opened.