Monday, January 15, 2007

A while back I found myself looking for something to do so that I could not each the remainder of my Christmas ribbon candy. While wandering around the kitchen trying to think of a project my eye fell upon my zester and - a ha! - I knew right away what I would do. I would make the long-anticipated and oft-planned pineapple-lime jam.

Turns out that the jam did not free me from the candy's siren call since it was ridiculously fast and easy - one of those that when it's all over you find yourself staring at the finished jars thinking yourself awesome. Of course, and there's no reason to tell anyone just how easy this is.

I, though, will happily share so that you may allow your friends and relations to believe that you toiled all day in wretched dreariness to bring them such a wonder.

Despite my enthusiasm, I will confess that the jam is not an unqualified success. Most of the recipes I perused did not use pectin, which is fine with me as I am not a fan, and I wonder if there is something inherent in the pineapple as the cause of this ommision. I seem to remember that one is not supposed to use pineapple in gelled desserts, as the gel will not set up properly in the presence of the pineapple. Some enzyme or something.

And indeed, my jam is rather soft (how I like it, but I realize many people prefer something a little more congealed) but I used canned pineapple which is supposedly not subject to the no-gelling rule. (I'm not the only one who sort of conflates gelatin with pectin-based jams and jellies, am I? I don't know that they are, but they seem related to me although this could merely be in my general disdain for the over-gelled.) Texture aside, the taste is wonderful as it is and I'm thinking that it might be ever-so-slightly improved with a touch of cinnamon. I would have tried with a jar or two of this batch but my cinnamon is fairly weak and I have not yet had time to replace it with something better from my shiny new Penzeys and their selection of five different varieties.

To make a reasonable and wholly presentable pineapple jam, empty two 20 oz. cans of crushed pineapple into a large saucepan. Add a cup and a half of granular sugar and a quarter cup of lime juice. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently and reduce heat to that the mixture settles to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes, continuing to stir frequently, to allow the mixture to thicken. Pack into sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Cool overnight, checking that the seal is complete before storing. This recipe will make enough to pack four half-pint jars with a bit leftover to put directly into the fridge.

I think this jam would be lovely on Sally Lund bread or perhaps as a filling or glaze for pound cake (an almond pound cake, perhaps?) Or maybe just on a spoon, with no other adornment.


Monogram Momma said...

Do you make your own ribbon candy or buy it? I have always wanted to make it and every year, SWEAR I'm going to do it, but never get around to it. If you have a good ribbon candy recipe I'd love it if you'd share it!

Marsha said...

I've always bought my ribbon candy, MM. But, like you, I've been intrigued about the process of making my own. There are a few recipes on line which are all variations of a basic hard candy and which seem straightforward enough. I think my major block would be a marble slab big enough, but I bet a solid surface counter top on a cool day would work well enough.

I'd love to make some of the old fashioned flavors like clove and spearmint - most of what I see available now are citrus-types and peppermint.

lee said...

The difference is that gelatin is from animals and pectin is from plants. The enzyme in pineapple reacts with the protein in the gelatin so I think pectin might work. Like you though, I am not a fan of pectin. I was just eating some homemade key lime marmelade and thinking it might be nice with some pineapple. The marmelade set quite nicely without pectin because you use so much of the peel. Maybe I'll try your recipe with some lime peel added in. Thanks!

GiBee said...

Ok -- Have you tried the pina Colada Jam? I made some this July, and my heavens, it is simply amazing. I used fresh Gold Pineapple -- I got it at Costco, and Loved that it was already peeled, cored and cut into spears. I got it in the deep-cool section where they sell the lettuce and salad mixes.

Let me know if you're interested in the recipe. I promise you'll love it!!

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