Posts Tagged ‘preserving’

Preserved Guavas

.. or guavas in syrup.

My usual method of dealing with the guava crop gives you a giant zip lock bag of frozen guavas, and no easy way to use them. Because they haven’t been individually frozen, the only way to get at them is to kind of whack at the bag until bits fall off, and then use it in a fruit smoothie (which I don’t do).

I had such success with the guava pie, that I have also frozen rectangular takeaway containers of guava pieces, already dotted with butter, sugar and cinnamon. I had planned to premake pies, and freeze them for a later day baking, but it was too much effort and time consuming to do so, what with holding down a full time job, studying, and trying to have a life. I then thought that I could use lay out the guava slices in the rectangular takeaway containers, so that I could pick up individual pieces later for cake making and such. That turned out to be much too fiddly and time consuming – not doing that one again.

Then I discovered the Guava Producers’ Association website, and in particular their recipe corner.

Guavas, deseeded

I had already quartered and deseeded a bunch of the better looking fruit, with the vague idea that I would bottle/can it somehow. I guess guavas are a bit of a rare fruit, because it was really hard finding any information on what type of sugar syrup to pair with the guava. Is guava a more acidic fruit, so can I use a light sugar syrup? Or is it less acidic on the ph scale, so I have to use a heavier sugar syrup? At last here was a solution – 250g in 500ml water, to me is equivalent to a medium sugar syrup.

Here, instantly, was a recipe.

I actually ended up using apple juice (Do you know how HARD it is to find actual apple juice that has been produced in Australia at the supermarket?!!) which I had already purchased (10% sugar solution) – 7 cups of which I then added 1/2 cup of sugar. So that’s ~um ~ 15 % solution. Okay. So it ended up being a very light sugar syrup then. Probably not the best if you’re reusing pasta sauce jars for your preserving.

1 x 2 litre ice cream box of guava quarters
1750 mL apple juice (only 1000mL seems to have been used)
100 g sugar
= 4 small bottles of preserved guavas.

These were then hot packed into their jars, and boiled in a water bath.

Preserved Guava

I tried to leave enough headroom in the smaller jars for water bath processing, but the fruit is not fully covered with the syrup. I think that I’m going to have to open these jars, either remove some fruit/add extra sugar solution, and re-process. I’ve had some green tomato relish go nasty because there wasn’t enough liquid in the jar. Although, pickyourown – preserving peaches seems to indicate that not enough water is OK.

“If fruit is not covered by liquid it may darken during storage (but does not necessarily mean it is spoiled, as all fruits will darken somewhat).”

I later on found the Technical Manual of the FAO of the United Nations (whew, what a mouthful!):

“The packaging medium may be constituted by the juice of the guavas, obtained by squeezing the pulp that contained the seeds. Add sugar to the juice to obtain a certain Brix°, according to the final degree of sweetness desired (usually, the syrup should be of about 30-35 Brix°.”

but I had no idea what a brix was. It turns out that it is a fancy way of saying “percent”; so 30-35 brix means a 30-35% sugar solution.

Apparently a guava in syrup is a totally different beast to fresh guava. So I can’t wait to try it!

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Fig Jam

I awoke one morning to a banging at the door. Out lovely neighbour had just ventured out in the rain to harvest some figs. They had planned to make fig jam. A few days later, I find this on my doorstep:
Happy Jam Making!

Hurray for generous neighbours!

The first time ’round, I was out of lemons, so I used the zest of limes and lime juice based mainly on a recipe from the West Australian newspaper.

I substituted 2 small lines for the lemon, but didn’t think about the proportions until I had thrown it in the pot. I got 5 tablespoons of juice to 600g of fig fruit; which was the amount I used to 1.2kg of guava juice when making jelly.

After boiling for 1 hour, it wasn’t passing the ‘sets in a cold dish’ test, so I threw in a random amount of pectin, leftover from the jelly making last year.

Imagine 5 tablespoons of lime juice plus the sourness of pectin and a mere 500g of fruit.

Yeah.

I wasn’t that pleased with that first effort.

So I resolved to try again, with a recipe from The Golden Wattle Cookery book, a heady tome handed out to young ladies graduating from West Australian high schools.

Fig Jam
12 lbs (4.8kg) figs
9 lbs (3.6kg) sugar
2 lemons

1. Wash figs. Cut up roughly, removing stalks
2. Sprinkle over 2 lbs (800g) sugar. Stand overnight.
3. Add juice of lemons and skins (not cut up)
4. Boil until tender. Add rest of sugar.
5. Boil until a golden brown colour. Remove lemon skins.
6. Bottle. Cover while hot and label.

The citrus pith contains a high amount of pectin, which is why I didn’t need to add any to this batch. I also disobeyed step 3, by cutting my lemons into six big chunks. Increased surface area to help to disperse flavour.

I also added one generous teaspoon of very gingery powder ginger.

600g of fruit netted me three 250ml jars. I can’t wait to taste it.

So this is what my jam looks like:
Fig Jam

On the left is batch one, with extra pectin. On the right is the Golden Wattle Cookery book batch.

Next challenge: marmalade!

Guava Butter

After throwing kilos of boiled guava “pulp” after making myguava jelly into the Bokashi bucket, I thought I would investigate using it. I am supposed to be minimising my impact upon the environment

Charmaine had a recipe for Guava Butter

Guava Butter
Per cup of de-seed boiled guavas, leftover after making the jelly:

3/4 cups of sugar (184 grams)
Strained juice of one lime (approx 1 tablespoon)
Heaped tablespoon of softened butter (15g), in small chunks.

Don’t cook more that 4 cups at a time, because you can’t get the mix hot enough.

Put the de-seeded guava pulp in a large bowl, and microwave to steaming.

Add in the softened butter and lemon juice, stir.

Microwave for 2 minutes at a time, stir to combine until thick and piping hot.

The butter needs to be steaming hot because that’s how you maintain the sterilty and longevity of your goodies.

Spoon the guava butter into hot sterilized jars out of the oven.

Fill each jar almost to the top with a 1cm gap.

Seal immediately with new jar lid, or
the Fowlers Vacolla ‘kleerview’ plastic jam covers. These are neat, because as the contents cools, you can see the seal being sucked back towards the jar.
The steam seems to permeate through the seal whilst hot. No doubts that hot air takes up more space than cool air!

If using the kleerview seals, screw on the original jar lid on top to protect the seal. I’ve been doing this after the contents have cooled down, but I’ll report back later in the year if this destroys my plastic seal.

I only had enough space in my big bowl to do 3 cups.

You can also cook the guava butter on the stove, but because it is so thick, it spits all over you and the stove.

So here we are on the far right: my very first batch of guava butter.

Guava Jelly and Butter, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

And it tastes *so* good.

I won’t be giving this one away!

I wonder though – how long does this last? It does contain dairy after all. If you used clarified butter (ghee), would it last longer?

Fresh Guava Tart with Guava Jam

So what is the best way to deal with my over abundance of guava fruit? Having made guava jelly and butter, and given kilos and kilos of the stuff away, I thought that I should package it up in a tart and feed it to my colleagues.

I was aiming for something like tarte tartine, but with guavas! *evil cackle*

1. Pastry
I made sour cream pastry. However perhaps because of the humidity, I needed 1.5 cups of plain flour to the butter and sour cream.

The extra flour was enough for a large 27cm quiche tin, and five 10cm taster tins.

I oiled the tins, and put a round of baking paper in the base to assist later removal. The finished product comes out quite easily, so this might be unnecessary.

Blind baked the pastry for about 15 minutes, or until light brown.
2. Guava Jam
I figured sliced guava on its own might be too plain in flavour, so I made jam. I didn’t read the recipe properly, so like on autopilot, I made as per guava jelly and boiled my guavas.

This is my recipe, modified from the link above.

3 cups guavas, de-seeded and simmered (as per guava jelly)
1.5 cups sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
1/4 tsp salt

Boil the lot, and then have it on a medium simmer for about 30 minutes.

I had the mixture bubbling for 20 minutes, and kept stirring to stop it spitting.

This gave me enough jam for a thin layer in one large quiche tin, four small 10cm tasters, and one 500g jam jar for later consumption.

Guava Tart Prep, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

3. Guava Tart
Half an apple, thinly sliced.
3-4 fresh guavas, de-seeded and sliced into strips.
Guava jam, to taste.
Just baked pie/tart crust.
Allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar.

Smear a thick layer of jam on the pastry baked base.

Starting with thin slices of apple (optional), create the main pattern on the pastry, and then infill with strips of fresh sliced guava. Go on, don’t be shy, if you’re trying to use up a day’s harvest of guavas, you’ve got plenty to spare.

Sprinkle, allspice, cinnamon sugar and brown sugar. I had some Chinese five spice lying around, so that went on too.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and the fruit has reduced a little.

Guava Tart, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

Verdict: yum! Evil in this case is justified.

Lessons learned: use heaps more fruit. Also, how do I make nice professional looking pastry edges rather than rustic homemade edges?

Guava Jelly

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.

Guava jelly
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.

Boiling up Guavas, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

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.

Draining the juice, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

*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.

Guava Jelly and Butter, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

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.