Mountain Maid Ube Jam - Gastro Obscura
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Mountain Maid Ube Jam

In the mountains of the Philippines, a convent raises funds with a sweet spread made from purple yams.

In 1952, children began to live on the grounds at Good Shepherd, and the nuns struggled to find a way to feed the increasing number of residents. They quickly turned to industry and created the Mountain Maid brand, which offered strawberry jam with Baguio’s local abundance of the seasonal fruit. In searching for a year-round alternative, the nuns chose local ube to cook into vibrant yam jam. The jars of lavender-hued preserve, with a shelf life of just one month (perhaps to motivate repeat customers), became Mountain Maid’s best-selling product.

Today, Mountain Maid sells more than 90 products. Ube jam is still the most popular of them all, followed by peanut brittle. In addition to raising funds for the nuns’ missions, the operation now has a student-worker program that helps students pay their way through college by making jam. Just in case an assortment of delicious confections weren’t enough to compel you, there’s a little extra sweetness in anything sold at the Good Shepherd convent.

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