It was a beautiful September afternoon that I was travelling through Kashmir with my family. On our way to Baramullah , either sides of the road were filled with Apple trees. And I mean it - rosy, pink, happy looking apples hanging everywhere, bringing the boughs down. It is a sight I will never forget. And I instantly went back to my teenage self and decided to buy apples and apples and apples. Along with beautiful memories of Kashmir my husband and I also lugged back over 30 kilos of beautiful, rosy, juicy apples back to Bangalore but that is when I transformed back to my present self. I sat there on the kitchen floor, trying my best to find ways to store them; eventually my apples were packed in the fridge with no space left for using the fridge for any other purpose. Excitement led to impulse and that led to creativity. And so began my love for jam making.
In the history of jam making, apples were one of the first fruits to be cooked into a jam as apples naturally have very high pectin levels. Pectin is a naturally occurring substance that creates a gel like consistency. All natural.
Back in my kitchen, with a different fruit every week, I spent hours away happily- trying out recipes, learning from every new jam I would create. And after more than a year of trial and error, adopted the French way of jam making, where the fruit juice is extracted before cooking the jam, yielding a much more flavorful jam along with reduced cooking time.
I spent many afternoons, researching on recipes, reading ebooks on canning & preserving. I found that I enjoyed making the apple jam so much that I tried half a dozen apple jam variants, including Apple & Green tea for the grownups. And then I ventured out to the fruit markets - to try other fruits. I spent every weekend, happily trying out a new jam recipe. The earliest jams I made had to be consumed fast, since I had little expertise in canning. But thankfully for us, I discovered that our family can devour jams with lightening speed. Specially since there is very little sugar. I spent the next phase of my jam making in not making jams, but in learning the proper techniques for naturally preserving fruits. And after more than a year of experimenting, I found the ideal way to preserve and can my low sugar jams so they can stay good for months.
And thus formed Orchard Lane - a happy, fun endeavour. Fuelled with my teenage impulse, and armed with my motherly concern.
Orchard Lane jams are made with fresh, whole seasonal fruit, with no artificial additives, no preservatives and very little sugar. Perhaps, it is best to describe our jams as "pure condensed fruit jars".
And as a mom, I have found my way to get the kids to eat food with a healthy option - our
journey to goodness!
And these are my two little girls. The more I think about the well-being and nutrition of my daughters, the more I realise that I cannot have harmful preservatives, sugars, colours and added flavors in their diet. I also came across many articles on how kids food colourants contribute to breathing issues, adenoids and allergies. I am convinced that my kids are to have simple, all-natural foods only.
I realise that I believe in Orchard Lane - with my whole heart. Our bodies are like temples and need to be taken care of with devotion- how can one then pollute ones body with harmful chemicals - or contribute to harming our family members health. Wherever possible, eliminate chemical laden foods from your home - and see the difference.