Thursday, June 11, 2015

guava ketchup

Eat the invasives! I love finding uses for the invasive plants around my land. I used tomato ketchup recipes as a guide to develop this recipe. It uses mostly guava, and tastes very much like tomato ketchup with a bit of a tropical zing. Delicious and addicting! Local restaurants should really serve something like this with taro or 'ulu fries/chips!

While usually I try to back off on sugar in recipes, I found that sugar is very important for making this guava ketchup like a tomato ketchup - the ketchups we are used to are so full of sugar! When I used less sugar, the result was still delicious, but more of a sweet-and-sour guava sauce than a guava ketchup. Try playing around with spicing and sweetening to your taste.

I used the common yellow guava (the one that is about the size of a plum and pink inside) for this recipe. The fruits were mostly firm-ripe, with a few under-ripe for more flavor and pectin. To prepare the puree, I chopped up the fruit and blended it with the juice of one lemon. I then strained the mixture to separate the seeds. Guava is so viscous that it needs to be coaxed through the sieve. I did this by stirring and mashing with a spoon.

guava ketchup


7 cups guava puree (the skin and inside without the seeds, plus some lemon juice)
spices to taste, I used:
  • 20 allspice seeds, crushed
  • 20 cardamom pods, sliced
  • 40 grains of paradise, crushed
  • 1 tbsp local Ceylon cinnamon
1.5 cups raw (turbinado) sugar
6 tbsp white vinegar (5%)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste  (for umami)
1/2 tsp salt


Add the spices and the raw sugar to the guava puree and bring to boil in a wide, shallow pan/pot. Turn down the heat to low boil. Cook down for about 2 hours, until the volume it about 1/2 of the original. The guava puree is viscous, so stir frequently to prevent burning.

Let cool slightly then strain the spices from the puree. Transfer back to the pout and add the rest of the ingredients. Boil for another 1 to 2 hours, while stirring, until it is the consistency of ketchup.

If you would like to can, check the pH to make sure it is 4.0 or below (if you follow this recipe, it should be well below that), ladle into 4 or 8 oz jars leaving ¼ inch headspace, and heat-process for 10 minutes.  If you don’t want to can, refrigerate to keep for a month.

This recipe yields about 35 oz (a bit over 4 half-pint jars) of ketchup.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

drunken jaboticaba preserves

I've been making batches of jaboticaba wine, the first step of which is a fermentation of the whole fruit. After a few days to a week, I strain the slightly-alcoholic liquid off the fruit. The liquid goes into a carboy for a couple more weeks of fermentation, while the role of the fruit skins and seeds is complete.

I hate throwing out the fruit! Especially since much of the health benefits of jaboticaba is in its skin. The left-over skins are fruity and a bit alcoholic, certainly well-preserved. So, I made a jam: why not?

Because the seeds are so bitter, I spent the time to separate them from the skins. A bit tedious, but listening to the radio helped me to get into the zen of it. The seeds go in the compost, and I weighed the skins as a starting point.

The preserves turned out well! Kind of sour cherry-like. The pectin can be adjusted or left out depending om how saucy you'd like it. I made a batch where I macerated about the same amount of skins with about 10 oz sliced calamansi limes. That was great, too, almost like cherry pie filling, but a bit more bitter.

drunken skins from 5 pounds of jaboticaba = 1 lb 11 oz
juice from a large lemon
1 tsp Pomona calcium water
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup of sugar (I used Maui turbinado sugar)
1 tsp Pomona pectin

separating seeds and skins
Separate the skins and seeds. The seeds are perfectly edible and they add a nutty crunch so you can leave them in, but they also add a bitter flavor. Weigh the skins and adjust the amount of sugar according to the measurement (and according to taste).

simmering jaboticaba skins with a cinnamon stick
Add the lemon juice, calcium water, and cinnamon stick (or any other spices) to the jaboticaba skins and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
glossy and done
 Combine the sugar and pectin in a bowl and stir well. Add slowly to the fruit while stirring to avoid any pectin clumps. Boil for about 15 minutes until the mixture looks glossy and sets within a minute when a bit is tested in a dish. During this time, stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning. Also, pick out any seeds that that floated to the top.

Pour into 8oz jars and process for 15 minutes in a waterbath or steam canner. Or pour into a container and put into the refrigerator for short-term storage.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jaboticaba Ginger Calamansi Marmalade

yum, jaboticaba!
This marmalade has a deep, bright flavor without the bitterness of some marmalades. It's delicious! It uses about half the sugar of a typical jam, so you need to either bump up the sugar or use a low-sugar pectin like Pomona.

2 pounds jaboticaba
10 ounces calamansi
piece of ginger, about 2 inch more or less
2 teaspoons Pamona calcium solution
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons Pomona pectin

First: make jaboticaba-ginger juice

Wash and rinse the jaboticaba, tossing any that are moldy or "deflated." Under-ripe fruit is OK. Peel and cut ginger into about 1/2 inch cubes.

Put jaboticaba and ginger in a saucepan and fill to about an inch under the top of fruit. Boil for about 45 minutes. About 15 minutes into this time, use a wooden spoon to squash the fruit against the sides of the pot. This will help the flavors seep into the liquid.

jaboticaba bursts open as it boils

After about 45 minutes, turn off the heat and let the liquid cool for 10-20 minutes. Strain the solids and ginger chunks from the juice, pressing down on the peels and seeds.

straining jaboticaba juice
Second: prepare the calamansi

Wash and rinse the calamansi. Cut into halves then slice into semi-circles. Cit them as thin or thick as you would like them to be in your marmalade. Discard the seeds, but use everything else.

calamansi slivers
Third: make the marmalade

Warm the jaboticaba juice with the calamansi slivers and the Pomona calcium solution in the saucepan and bring to boil for about 10 minutes. Mix together the dry sugar and the Pomona pectin in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the sugar/pectin to the juice while stirring vigorously. This will prevent the pectin from clumping. Bring to a vigorous boil for about 10-15 minutes. Test to see if it gels by spooning a bit onto a cold plate. It should start gelling within a few minutes.

When you are convinced the mixture will gel, pour into jars. (about four 8 oz jars.) Refrigerate and use right away, or water bath or steam can for 15 minutes to store or gift.

This marmalade is packed with flavor! It's not too sweet and not bitter. Good on ice cream!

jaboticaba ginger calamansi marmalade