Strawberry Guava Jam And Then Some!

“Time stays long enough for those who use it.“ – Leonardo Da Vinci

There was so much to get done today in so little time (I know the reality of time, but that isn’t going to stop me from denying it) that once again I got up well before the alarm clock and headed down to the kitchen.

Strawberry Guava Jam was first on my list of “Must Do Today” items. Having juiced all the guava yesterday, my job was fairly simple. All I had to do was slice the strawberries I needed to add to the guava and I’d be set. Here is the recipe:

Strawberry Guava Jam

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Guava Juice/Pulp (see Guava Jam recipe for juicing instructions)
  • 6 Cups Sliced Strawberries (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Pint Apple Pectin Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients in large stock pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes or until strawberries are tender. With a stick blender, spot puree.  This is my cheat for not crushing one cup of the berries prior to mixing with the other ingredients.  Depending on how chunky you want the jam, puree to your liking.  Remove from heat and let stand five minutes. Ladle jam into hot 4 oz. or 8 oz. jars and cap with hot bands and lids. Process 10 minutes in water bath.

This jam is not very sweet. My husband loves it because he prefers jams on the tart side, but I don’t see why you couldn’t add more sugar if you wanted. The rule seems to be one cup of sugar for every cup of guava but with the addition of the strawberries, you could easily add two or three more cups to sweeten this up.

With the jam done and all the guava used, I moved onto my next project — corn. Over the weekend I came across two boxes of corn-on-the-cob on the discount rack. For $2.00 I got 77 ears of corn. This worked out perfectly because I just finished my last bag of frozen corn from last summer’s farmer’s market shopping.

Freezing Corn Pictorial

 

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Freezing corn is easy. The blanching only takes five minutes and I enjoy using my little kernel remover gadget to clean the cobs. In all, this project took an hour and half and yielded me 5 quarts of frozen corn — more than enough to keep us happy until July or August when Michigan corn starts showing up at the market.

The rest of my day was spent cooking dinner, cleaning the house (well that’s what I call it — others might say moving the dirt from one spot to another), driving my daughter to school and then work, and then finally I ended the day by making another batch of dehydrated apples. That was the other huge find on the clearance rack. I got three boxes of apples for $5.00. I haven’t even finished the first box yet and already I’ve gotten 4 quarts of dehydrated apple chips for the pantry.

Dehydrated Apple Chips

Wash Apples
Peel, Core and Slice

An apple/corer/peeler gadget saves a ton of time.

An apple/corer/peeler gadget saves a ton of time.

Place on dehydrater trays

Apples placed on tray - no touching.

Apples placed on tray – no touching.

Spray with lemon juice (both top and bottom of tray)

Love using a spray bottle with lemon juice - so easy!

Love using a spray bottle with lemon juice – so easy!

Set tray on dehydrater and leave for 18 to 24 hours
Let cool

Dehydrated Apple Chips

Dehydrated Apple Chips

Remove from trays and store in quart mason jars sealed with FoodSaver

It was a productive day — it needed to be. There is nothing worse than buying produce off the discount rack and then not doing anything with it until it starts to spoil. Yes, I have done this and end up suffering buyer’s remorse, canner’s guilt, and housewife shame for days after. Today I utilized the bargains I bought and added stock to the pantry, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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Guava Jam – Thanks For The Memories

Everyone has a ‘risk muscle.’ You keep it in shape by trying new things. If you don’t, it atrophies. Make a point of using it at least once a day. – Roger Von Oech

It has been a hectic Sunday filled with canning, cooking, shopping, and laundry. All of this took precedent over posting this morning, but waiting provided me with something new to share.

Yesterday on the clearance rack at Randazzo’s I came across several quart containers filled with a fruit I’d never seen before. On reading the PLU sticker I learned it was a guava. I’d always thought guava were the size of a large pear. These were the size of apricots. Not having any idea what I’d make with them I had to have them, so I bought 3 quarts for a total of $2.00. I also got a ton of other things, very cheap — but more on them in another post.

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The moment I got home I went to the computer before even emptying the car. I had to find out if there were any great recipes for guava jam online. My search resulted in a few recipes that used a pink guava, one that used the larger green guava I was familiar with, and only one that used the small, creamy-textured ones I’d bought. Not much to go on, but I’d worked with less. I knew that come morning, I’d be ready to experiment.

Getting up early this morning, the only morning during the week that I can sleep in, I headed to the kitchen anxious to see what working with guava was going to be like. Not liking most of the methods I found on the Internet for “juicing” guava, I decided to use the method I was comfortable with and use for most fruits.

I started by washing the guava and cutting off the flower and stem ends. Next I quartered the fruit and put them in a large stock pan – peels, seeds and all.


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Then I filled the pot with just enough water to cover the fruit and brought it to a boil.

Quarter Guava and put in Large Stock Pot

Quarter Guava and put in Large Stock Pot

Leaving it simmer on the stove for 30 minutes, I tested the guava and found it tender.

Cover Guava with water and bring to boil.

Cover Guava with water and bring to boil.

I have found that in order to get the most juice out of any fruit, using a hand mixer or stick blender while the fruit is still in the pan does wonders. I pureed the fruit until all the large chunks were gone, leaving lots of tiny seeds and a thick creamy mixture.

Puree cooked guava till smooth and creamy.

Puree cooked guava till smooth and creamy.

Now, either because I’m too lazy to stand there with a strainer or too impatient to wait for the juice to filter through cheese cloth, I pulled out my Victorio Strainer. Fitting it with the berry attachment I poured all the boiling liquid into the hopper and strained out the skin and seeds. Some of the seeds did crack during the process, releasing a tiny poppyseed-size seed into the juice. This didn’t bother me, but if you wanted to I’m sure you could strain this out with a fine mesh strainer.

Pour puree in strainer to remove seeds and skin.

Pour puree in strainer to remove seeds and skin.

The three quarts of guava I bought yielded nine cups of strained guava pulp/juice. It was very thick and smelled almost citrusy.

Strained Guava Pulp/Juice

Strained Guava Pulp/Juice

I put 6 cups of the pulp back in the pan, added 3 tablespoons lime juice, and 4 cups of sugar. Bringing this to a boil I then added one pouch of liquid pectin and let it boil for one minute more. I’m not sure the pectin was really necessary because the jam already was fairly thick, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Return pulp to pan - add lime juice and sugar.

Return pulp to pan – add lime juice and sugar.

Finally I ladled the jam into hot 8 oz. jars, covered them with hot lids and bands, and processed them in a water bath for 10 minutes. I filled six jars and another small bowl that I put in the fridge.

Guava Jam

Guava Jam

There was a little jam left in the pan, which I left there for my next project — some sort of guava-fruit combo jam.

I tasted the jam while it was still hot and wasn’t sure what it tasted like. It had a bite to it, it was sweet, but unlike anything I’d ever made. The whole house smelled like guava. Then it hit me. I knew this fruit. I might not have seen it in its fruit form, but back some eight or more years ago we went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for a family vacation.  Every morning they served fresh squeezed juices in the dining room. The one that all of us drank and enjoyed the most was the guava. It was thick, creamy, white and very sweet. Obviously they had added lots of sugar and more water than I did to make the jam, but the flavor was certainly reminiscent.

After removing the jars from the canner, I tasted the cooling jam in the refrigerator. Wow! Cold the flavor was so much stronger. Very unique. I liked it. So what could I do with the rest of the guava pulp and the little bit of jam left in the pan?

Leaving the canning so I could do some grocery shopping, I headed to Meijer’s. I ran into several workers that I have come to know over the years. Going to the same grocery store for 20+ years, you make friends. Needing some input on my guava dilemma, I asked for suggestions for a fruit that would go well with guava. My thought was possibly pineapple, but one of the women ate guava regularly and thought that a perfect combo would be to add strawberry. Done. I picked up two quarts of strawberries and now have a canning project for tomorrow.

Trying new things is scary, but what’s the worst that could happen? I’d have wasted $2.00 and a little time. What I gained was a new recipe, the satisfaction of utilizing years of canning experience to “fudge” my own recipe, and I got to enjoy a trip down memory lane recalling  the wonderful family vacation we had in Punta Cana, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.