Welcome to the first edition of the year! We wish you a happy and prosperous 2017 and hope you’ll have the opportunity to fly with Odie Air, in the next 12 months – where the journey is part of the experience.February is known as the month of love and, on Valentine’s Day, couples across the globe will be celebrating their devotion to each other. If you are spoiling your loved one at one of the incredible game lodges that Odie Air offers non-scheduled shuttle flights to – be sure to keep an eye open for the fruit of the Marula tree.
Odie of Odie Air decided to make a rather yummy Marula Jelly for a special Valentine’s day picnic she has planned. Before she shares with you how she did it, a little more about the Marula!
Did you know that dried Marula nuts often strung together in a necklace – traditionally symbolize love.
The history of the marula tree goes back thousands of years. A beautiful, leafy tree that is both drought resistant and yields exceptional fruit per tree, S. birrea is highly prized in Africa. It is widely distributed from 20ºN to 30ºS, and is found in 29 countries. A prolific fruit bearer, one single tree can bear up to 500 kg of fruit per year. Fruit can be found from January to March.
Archaeological evidence shows the Marula tree was a source of nutrition as long ago as 10,000 years B.C. Marula, Scelerocarya birrea, subspecies caffera, is one of Africa’ botanical treasures.
Regarded as a sacred tree in Africa, the marula is protected in communal lands under the local chief. Because of its leafy foliage and shade-bearing size, it is popular with villages for local meetings, and often in a ploughed field will be the only tree left standing.
The bark of the tree has medicinal properties and is used widely in treating dysentery and diarrhoea, rheumatism, insect bites and a variety of other ailments. Essence from the leaves is said to provide a remedy for abscesses, spider bites and burns.
There is even legend that a woman can take bark from the male or female tree to determine the sex of her next baby!.
The tree is protected in South Africa. In 1951, the Controller of Timber in South Africa passed Proclamation 257 declaring S. caffra a protected tree in Transvaal. Through Marula Pty Ltd’s association with MDA at the Mhala Branch in Limpopo Province of South Africa, a strict policy on the treatment and harvesting of marula trees and fruit is in place. A partnership with a Community Forestry in Department of Water and Forestry of South Africa provides a vehicle to ensure sustainable harvesting and resource management.
Making Marula Jelly with Odie
- First of all, you will need to collect your marula fruit, (it is good to include green fruit as they contain more pectin), wash the fruit and then cut or pierce the skins. Place your marulas in a larg pot and soak the fruit in water overnight.
- Just cover the fruit with water and boil for 15-20 minutes.
- Strain the contents of the pot through cheesecloth and retain the water/juice. You will notice that the juice looks just like fresh orange juice.
- Wash out your pot, measure your juice and pour it back into the clean pot.
- Add white sugar – volume for volume i.e. 1 cup juice to 1 cup sugar.
- Add the juice of 1 lemon per liter of juice.
Boil rapidly for approx. 20 minutes, or until gelling temperature has been reached. (check by placing a drop or two onto a cold saucer, allowing to cool and then pushing it with your finger to see if it wrinkles). Tip, make sure you have enough space in the pot as the jam bubbles up very easily and you need to keep it bubbling.
- Bottle the jelly in sterilised bottles.
- Allow to cool, label and store in a cool place until opening.
- Store open bottles in the refrigerator.
- Odie used about 5kg of fruit which rendered 7 small bottles of jelly.
Marula Jelly is routinely served with any type of venison, but can be used with all types of meat. It is delicious with cheese and biscuits or just on a slice of toast. It has a subtle flavour slightly reminiscent of honey.