You will notice that many of the common names are inaccurate - it's not a cherry or a gooseberry or a guava. The one that does pass would be downy rose myrtle, which honestly is not something that makes me think of yummy jam and that's what I wanted to do with these berries. So, my sweetie came up with the name "fubu" for fuzzy blueberry, and I quite like it.
The fubu plant comes from southern and southeastern Asia and is an invasive here, although not as common as waiawi strawberry guava. Despite being a pest, the plant has some nice qualities. The flowers are pretty and frequented by carpenter bees. Fruit flies seem to leave the berries alone. The specimens we've seen are more bush than tree, overshadowed by the waiawi.
|fubu flowers, buds, and immature berries|
Picking the berries is easy, since the plant has no stickers, and bugs don't seem to like them. Still, it took me a month to collect enough berries to make a batch of fubu jam.
First I sliced the berries and discarded the flower end. In this batch of jam are about 20 oz of slices. In the photo bellow, some of the berries are still a bit unripe. I found it was best to wait until they turn a deep purple color and become a little soft. They will ripen in a bowl on the table after you pick them, if they are already reddish.
|boiling fubu berries in water to extract juice|
|using the spoon, I mashed the boiled fubu through the mesh strainer|
In a separate bowl, I mixed 1.5 cups of organic cane sugar with 2.5 tsp Pomona pectin. After the fubu juice reached a vigorous boil, I added the sugar/pectin and stirred until it reached a heavy boil again. At this point, I tasted the mixture to make sure it was worth putting into jars. (I had never had fubu jam, so I knew there was a chance it would be icky.) It was good! So into jars it went.
This recipe yielded seven 4oz jars. I then steam-canned them for 15 minutes.
|fubu jam in the steam canner|
That it tastes like grape has me thinking... fubu wine? Wikipedia says they make these into wine in Vietnam. I may have to try. That would take a lot of fubu berries.