I am really glad that I made the switch to homemade pineapple jam and it is not as difficult as I have imagined. I always thought that I would either burn the jam or scald myself while stirring the bubbling, boiling hot jam. But after several attempts, I am glad that none of that happened, what’s more, I have discovered 4 simple tips that make the cooking of pineapple jam not so tedious (or risky.)
01. Cut down the prepping time
Yes, the jam recipe I am using still takes at least 2 hours to cook, but what I am suggesting is to cut down the time taken to prepare the fresh pineapples before grating them. It is extremely helpful get the fruit seller to have the crown, skin and “eyes” removed, this would take away an hour or so of preparation time, depending on how many pineapples you are using.
02. Cook the jam in a enameled dutch oven
I cook 2 medium size pineapples each time in my 20cm dutch oven pot. Most recipes state to cook the jam in a non-reactive pot, due to the acidity of the pineapples. Instead of stainless steel pots which are the most common non reactive cookware, I find that the enameled cast iron pot distributes heat more evenly, very important for jam recipes which require long hours of boiling and and even longer simmering. Even after the sugar has caramelized, the jam does not stick to the pot easily, scoring extra brownie points as I prefer my jam really sticky for my enclosed pineapple tarts, which means that I tend to cook my jam much longer than stated in the recipe stated. If you are making open face tarts, the pineapple jam can be less sticky as they will be cooked further under direct heat in the oven with the tart pastry.
03. Add sugar only after the liquid from the grated pineapples has been reduced first
Some recipes ask to combine and cook all the ingredients from the beginning, which would require the cook to stand next to the stove from start-to-end, stirring all the time, so that the jam will not burn due to the sugar. Thanks to Wendy, I have never once burnt my jam with her tip to add sugar only when the pineapple mixture has almost dry up after the first round of boiling and simmering.
04. Core or no core?
Lastly, some recipes suggest to discard the tough core of the pineapple, and only use the juicy part to make the jam. That may be true for making spread where you want the jam to be as jelly smooth as possible. But for pineapple tarts, not only do I like the jam sticky, I like it fibrous as well, as evident in the photo of the end product above. So I use the core and all, hand grated with the largest size hole on my Daiso grater, instead of the food processor way, to produce jam with a more fibrous texture. So if you find my jam texture too tough to your liking, either omit the core in your cooking, or use food processor to blend the fruit into a finer texture.
Do you have any other tips to share?
ADAPTED FROM : TABLE FOR 2 OR MORE & TRAVELLING FOODIES
2 fresh pineapples (skin, "eyes" removed) 2 cinnamon sticks 5 cloves ½ star anise 150g-200g raw sugar 2-4 tablespoons lemon juice
01. Grate pineapples including the fibrous cores using a grater with a relatively large size hole.
02. Cook the grated pineapple pulp, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise in a wide mouth, non reactive cooking pot till the mixture boils. Turn down the heat to medium and let it simmer and the liquid will start to evaporate.
03. Once the runny mixture has been reduced to a thick consistency, add sugar and lemon juice, amount depending on how sweet/sour your pineapple is, and how sweet/sour you want your jam to be. This addition will turn the sticky jam into a runny mixture again, continue cooking at medium heat to let the liquid reduce for a second time, stirring all the time with wooden spoon to prevent the sugar/jam from getting burnt.
04. When the liquid has almost dry out, turn up the heat, this time to caramelize the jam and turn the pale yellow mixture into golden yellow paste. Remove from heat when you are happy with the color/texture of the jam, and let it cool completely. Do note that the jam will dry up further during the cooling stage.