Carissa, also known as the Natal Plum, Num Num, Noem-Noem, or Amatungulu in our household was found growing just steps outside our house in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa. My boyfriend Chris grew up with his grandfather making this jam out of the Carissa fruit that grows in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. So when we saw the shrubs hanging heavy with these crimson colored fruits, we pulled over and started collecting the free fruit gifts on the side of the road. Our childlike anticipation of spreading sugary sweet jam onto toast made the dodging of serious thorn punctures from the Carissa Macrocarpa a mild scar from the fruits of our labour.
Ingredients for Amatungulu Jam:
1000 ml water
1000 g fresh amatungulus
Wash the amatungulus and remove any hard stem or leaf that may be leftover.
Peel the naartjie/clementine and remove any pits. Slice the peel into strips and put the clementine slices and peel in the water with the sugar and amatungulus. Boil on high for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to a simmer for 1 and half hour minutes, in the last 10 minutes of the thick jam forming stage, stir constantly so jam does not burn on the bottom of the pot. Sterilise your jam jars by pouring hot water in them and soak the lids in boiled water as well. Turn off the heat and let the jam sit until room temperature. Pour the jam into the empty sterilised jars and let them set before closing the lid. So while you wait, toast a slice of hearty bread and spread your fresh carissa/noem-noem jam over the top. I am so happy to have a free-supply of the small tree fruit treat!
Recipe Ideas: There is so much to do with Num Nums Amatungulu. You can make juice, strudel, pies, put it in salads, etc. I’d love to hear how you use the fruit and where you found them growing. They are similar to tree tomatoes (tamarillos) and the uses can be similar to recipes that call for tamarillos.