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I first learned about mraba joz al-akhdar, which translates to "green walnut jam" in English, from cookbook writer Barbara Abdeni Massaad, who authored "Mouneh," an extensive guide to traditional Lebanese preserves.Candied walnut jam is so rare that the only sure place to find it is here, in this idyllic rural village 15 minutes away from the Syrian border.The walnuts are later boiled with an almost obscene amount of sugar (a kilo for every 38 walnuts) in several batches over a few days to infuse them with lip-smacking sweetness.Each year, Armenians and Lebanese alike travel to the village in search of walnut jam, she said. A father from Zahle once came to Shkherdemian to buy more than 100 jars, a hefty portion considering she only makes several hundred jars each year, as gifts for his daughter's wedding. This year, the already-rare jam will be in even shorter supply as a frigid winter has limited the crop of perfectly unripe walnuts, she explained. Last year, Shkherdemian made 300 jars of walnut jam from 18,000 walnuts.
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