We Be Jammin’: Papaya Jam

I’ve mentioned before how I have a thing for jam. I love it, hoard it and have a particular penchant for fancy flavors from exotic locations.  I swear every time I go to London my bag is ten pounds heavier from all the jam I bring home.   When I moved apartments this past summer, I found seven jars of jam, unopened in my pantry. SEVEN.  Have I mentioned that I live alone?  The funniest thing is that one week later, I went home to help  my mom unpack the kitchen from her Florida to Michigan move, and lo and behold in HER pantry, I found EIGHT jars of jam that she just moved across the country. EIGHT!  I have no idea what is up with my family, but you’d think we were preparing for the apocalypse where the only thing that we’d be able to salvage after the boom is bread that needed some lovin’.

jam hoarder

Evidence of my mother’s jam hoarding.

Despite this ridiculous obsession, I’ve never made it.  No reason other than I like what I buy just fine, and I can pretty much find any flavor I’d ever want at the store.  Why did I decide to make jam today? I just happened to have more papaya left from my coconut-papaya rice than I wanted to eat (still not a huge fan- sorry dad).   Plus, I didn’t have any papaya jam in my fridge (Does anyone? Can you even buy it? Hmm…not a huge market, I’m thinking…).  Anyway, at a loss of how to mix up breakfast this week, I figure I’d do something new.  It was really easy and ended up tasting really good.  My only conundrum is that I’m not quite sure how long it’s supposed to last since I didn’t add any sort of preservative or pectin for stabilization or anything, so I guess I better eat up.

This recipe can be doctored up with ginger, cinnamon, whatever you like. I kept it simple with this traditional recipe from Cameroon, using just three ingredients: papaya, lemon juice and sugar.

Recipe adapted from celtnet.org.uk


1 large really ripe papaya, peeled, deseeded and chopped

Juice of one lemon

4 cups sugar


  1.  Add to a lidded container then toss with the lemon juice and sugar to combine. Secure the led and leave to sit overnight.
  2. The next day, add the papaya mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  3. Place in a saucepan and simmer.  Continue cooking until all moisture as evaporated (it took me about 45 minutes for half the recipe).
  4. If you desire, spoon into sterilized jars for later. If not, grab a slice and get after it


Lovely. Served atop some corn-rice bread.

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