Saturday, January 21, 2012

Peach Tree Jelly

Tao Jiang (桃浆), roughly translated, means "peach tree jelly." Although you might be able to find it all year in Hangzhou, it is typically eaten in the summer. When I first heard about this snack, I figured that it was something like a peach jam or jelly that you could use as a condiment. The truth is actually much more interesting. The base of the Tao Jiang is sap that comes from the peach tree. It is collected in rock-hard, irregularly shaped, crystalized clumps, about the size of a walnut.

To make a batch of the jelly, you let the crystals soak in cool water for at least half a day (usually more), and then throw them into some boiling water. At this point, you can add some extra flavoring, such as goji berries and osmanthus blossoms. After you let it cool, it's time to scoop it out into a bowl or cup and eat.

The final product is sort of like jello sitting in a thin syrup (with some berries and flowers floating on top). The sap crystals retain their basic shape, but have a texture like grainy gelatin. Because of the cooking, their orange color has oozed out of the crystals and into the water, so the jelly itself is colorless. It's a nice snack--just a bit sweet, and probably very refreshing in the summertime. Definitely worth a try if you happen to find it. Depending on the season, you can probably expect to pay 3 - 5 Y for a cup of Tao Jiang.


Anonymous said...

Frank, I'm hooked on the blog and have shared it with friends.

Frank Kasell said...

Thanks, Stafford! Glad to know you are enjoying it. Hopefully more posts will be forthcoming...I've had to slow down due to the Chinese new year.

Unknown said...

Great! I saw those globs on peach trees and wondered if they could be used in cooking.

Anonymous said...

i have tried it once and i love it.

Anonymous said...

Is there any nutritional properties in the peach jelly?

Angelina said...

Love tthis

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