Is it rambutan season already? Gosh.
Some folks feel the years go by from the changes in weather. In this part of the world, we get that from the fruiting seasons. And I believe we get rambutans twice a year.
We have a huge old rambutan tree in the backyard that refuses to go away to rambutan heaven. When we first moved in, we saw that it could cause a bit of a problem safety-wise if it doesn't get chopped down. So we did just that.
Today, it's half its height but still bearing fruit, not the biggest and juiciest but still sweet and nice. And I believe it's trying to tell us that it's not ready to fold up it's branches by giving us a whole lot of fruit every year.
The squirrels are happy, the civet cats are happy, the birds are happy and most of all, my neighbors are happy. After making everyone happy, I still have a ton of fruit left. There's only so much one can eat and I've given away sackfuls.
And so I do what I always do with too many fruits ... make jam.
Why not? They keep, they make good gifts, they taste great with everything, they're versatile (can be turned into marinades, cordials, sauces, ice cream...).
Strangely enough, eaten on its own, the rambutan tastes pretty good. But as a jam, it tastes just like plain ol' syrup (sugar and water with no flavorings). So I had to liven it up a tad and add some lemon juice. Magic!
This turned out better than I'd hope. Not a jam to be eaten with toast, altho I don't see why not ... just saying what my tastebuds are telling me.
And they're saying this loudly, "MOVE OVER, MINT JELLIES & APPLE SAUCES!"
It went super with our roast rack of lamb this last Christmas and before that, we had it with roasted country-style ribs. Absoverylutely yummerlicious!
The only tedious part of this process is peeling the flesh off the seeds.
I've also included the recipe for the Roasted Country-style ribs here using the brining method. This is a method to be talked about at length in another post (maybe). I've found the results rather satisfying and the process useful when it comes to roasting big chunks of meat (not steaks).
(feel free to double the amount)
3 cups peeled & seeded rambutans
juice of 1 large lemon
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Plonk rambutan flesh into a food processor. Buzz until you get a texture you're happy with. I made mine a little chunky as I like a bit of bite.
Put everything into a pot.
Cook on medium heat until all sugar has dissolved.
Lower heat and allow to simmer for about 15-20 mins or until it turns all gooey. (Sorry, I'm not one who uses a thermometer, poor neglected thing) or just do a cold plate test.
Do not allow sugar to caramelize.
ROASTED COUNTRY-STYLE RIBS
(Country-style ribs refers to the meatiest variety of ribs)
2.5 - 3 kg rack of Country-style ribs (in this case, it's pork)
Dry English mustard
2 - 3 tbs molasses
brine solution (see below)
With a small, sharp pointy knife, stab the rack to death! Stab! Stab! Stab! (Watch for the bones tho, don't want to break your knife there).
Rub dry mustard and molasses all over rack. ( I didn't measure how much mustard I'd used but I'd estimate about an ounce or so, enough to coat the rack generously).
Leave in fridge for a couple of hours.
Mix together 1/4 cup kosher / coarse salt with 1 cup of water and dissolve over heat.
Leave to cool.
When cooled, mix solution with about 5 cups of cold water (more if needed, to cover meat completely)
Place seasoned meat in a large baggy/ non-reactive container and cover completely with brine. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or in my case, 4 hours.
We cooked this in the bbq, covered and on very low heat for 2 1/2 hours. Make sure the temperature at the center of the meat is at 71˚C otherwise it's not safe to eat. (This is pork, remember?)
*Okay: confession time. I don't know whether the brining process worked its magic on the rack this time since pork is already quite fatty and sweet and not prone to drying out too much. I'm just telling it as what we did (we had some fun tho .. all experimental), and whether the dry rub was necessary in this case.
I definitely will be trying this out on other meats and learning more about this process and will keep you informed.
FYI: a basic brine solution would be:
4 cups cool water
1/2 cup kosher salt / coarse salt
1/2 cup sugar
Since I had used molasses, I omitted the sugar in the solution.