Thursday, August 2, 2007

Jam Making -- Jammaking!

Homemade Pineapple Jam

pineapple jam biscuit

I LOVE jam. I have a hard time quantifying the things I love but jam, or fruit preserves containing both fruit juice and pieces of the fruit's flesh, would defintely be near the top of the list (somewhere between chocolate and my Texas state-flag under shorts). At one time, the contents of my refrigerator consisted soley of Tecate, milk and at least 10 varieties of jam. Although my proclivity for drinking cheap beer and copious quantities of milk has greatly diminished, I am fairly confident that jam will always remain dear to me.

Growing up on a ranch in rural Arizona, I was blessed every summer, not only with an abundance of readily available fresh fruit but also with more homemade jam than I could shake a mason jar at. I would gorge on the best blackberry, peach, apricot and cherry jams that have ever been made.

With all this jam eating experience under my belt, I consider myself to be something of a connoisseur; I can taste the quality of the product or the lack thereof, which is why I have always stayed away from store-bought pineapple jam. Although I think there are some fine jam brands out there, I have consistently been under-whelmed with the quality of the pineapple variety. Unfortunately, I’ve never made my own because jam, preserves, and canning in general has always seemed like some mystic art that was just beyond my skill.

So last weekend, with no trustworthy brand to turn to and a wicked yearning for pineapple, I decided to finally try my hand at jammaking (oh, it’s one word on this site, baby—pronounced “jamma-king”). I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised; it turns out that homemade jam is both incredibly easy and exceptionally delicious. I started with this recipe as a base and made my own modifications, which ultimately inspired a “Wow!” from my roomie upon her first taste.

jam background

Pineapple Jam
2 cups of freshly grated pinapple (basically one grated pineapple)
1 orange – peeled, seeded and grated
1 lime – peeled, seeded and grated
1 ½ cups white sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon chinese five-spice powder

Use your preferred method of peeling and coring your pineapple and cut it into 4 manageable chunks. Using a cheese grater, run the pineapple across the large grater/shredder-wholes into a bowl until it is all evenly grated.

grated pineapple

Peel and grate the orange and lime in the same manner.

orange lime pineapple

Combine the pineapple, orange, lime, sugar, vanilla and five-spice powder in a large saucepan, mix together and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes (stirring frequently) or until it reaches a thick jammy consistancy. Now you jammaking! Allow to cool and enjoy!

Pineapple jam makes a great spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes or other jams. It’s good on everything!

pineapple jam