So I had an over abundance of guava fruit, and needed to do something with them before I was driven insane with too many guavas. I had already given kilos away to neighbors, colleagues and family, and kilos were arriving by the day.
Since the flying foxes had discovered my tree, and although I like the idea of guava jam, I think it would also remind me too much of bat-poo, so Charmaine offered guava jelly.
The following are my interpretations of her recipe, with some consulting online.
1. Obtaining the juice
2kg guava fruit, halved
Water to fill just below the top level of fruit.
Knob of Ginger, julienned
Bring to a boil, and simmer for about an hour until fruit is soft.
Cool slightly, then pour into a muslin cloth* which has been wrung out in water so it does not absorb too much of the juice. Allow to drip slowly preferably overnight.
*Yes, I really did use a delicates laundry bag for my muslin cloth substitute.
This yielded just over two litres of guava juice. This smelled quite sweet, and nothing like guava.
Leaving the bag overnight didn’t really give me much more juice than the initial drain. This may be because of my muslin bag substitute.
2. Making jelly
1250ml guava juice
920g sugar (3 3/4 cups)
Strained juice of five limes (approx 5 tablespoons)
33g pectin (“25g per 1.5kg fruit”)
Cooking no more than five cups of juice at a time, allow for 3/4 cup sugar and the juice of one lime per cup.
Bring to the boil, add sugar and lime juice. Stir until sugar dissolves. Boil for 5-10 minutes. Draw pan away from heat, and add pectin, sprinkling over it if it is in powdered form.
Once more, bring to the boil and boil hard, stirring, or until jelly from the side of the spoon in two or three slow drops, joined by a ‘sheet’ of transparent liquid^. this is a good indication that a good set will be obtained. Do not skim the surface while cooking, or much of the pectin will be lost.
I was waiting and waiting and waiting for the jelly to reach ‘sheeting’ stage, and it didn’t. In the end I was boiling on-and-off for about an hour before I gave up. The stuff was setting as a skin when left on abandoned spoons after all.
I had been sterilising my jars in the meantime, and pulled my jars out of the oven just as I turned the heat off the jelly.
I’m still unsure as what I’m supposed to do at this stage. Do I drop in some paraffin wax on top of the jelly? Am I supposed to fill the jars all the way to the top?
I forgot to read up before I did this so I don’t think I did this quite right. I filled up each jar almost to the top (I suspect it is supposed to be all the way), with a 1cm gap.
I had these new Fowlers Vacolla ‘kleerview’ plastic jam covers which appear to seal the jar. You wet the outside, stretch it over the rim, and then fasten in place with a rubber band. When it dries, it is stretched taut and goes all crinkly like cellophane. But then what? Do I screw on the original jar lid on top, or am I supposed to attach my very own tartan tablecloth jar cover? I settled for the former, on the basis I might accidentally pierce the plastic cover without it.
So here we are on the far left: my very first batch of overcooked guava jam.
Batches two and three were a lot lighter in colour. I followed the suggested timing of 5-10 mins boil, add in pectin, and 5-10 mins hard boil; with a preference for a shorter boil time so the jelly would not be as sweet.