I had bought a whole pineapple for the tacos al pastor in my previous post, and there was a good amount leftover, so I decided to make some jam. In my opinion, the beauty of homemade pineapple jam is in the delicious, juicy chunks (trocitos, in Spanish); this chunky pineapple jam is also easy to make, and then, so enjoyable as a spread, or as a filling for some Mexican sweet treats.
Chunky Pineapple Jam –
Mermelada de piña con trocitos
Ingredients (makes approximately 2 cups)
2 ½ cups fresh pineapple; peeled, cored and chopped
½ cup water
1 lime (juice only)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
If the jam will not be used immediately, wash two one-cup Mason jars with snap lids and a wide mouth funnel and rinse with boiling water; set aside. Place pineapple and water in a pot over high heat (photo below, left); bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lime juice, stirring to incorporate (photo below, right):
Increase heat to high again; add sugar and stir (photo below, left). Continue stirring until all the sugar has dissolved, and the mix starts to bubble (photo below, right):
Reduce heat to medium for a bubbly simmer; continue cooking and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon after this point, to prevent browning. Run the back of the spoon along the bottom of the pan every couple of minutes; at first, the mix will be runny and fill the gap right away (photo below, left, after 10 minutes); when the jam is ready, it will become shinny and the bottom will be seen when running the back of the spoon (photo below, right, after 15 minutes):
Transfer jam to prepared Mason jars:
Cover with lids, allow to cool down, then store in the refrigerator, where unopened jars will keep well for several months.
I am enjoying some jam on toast right away with my cup of coffee:
In Mexico there are several commercial sweet treats filled with pineapple jam:
They used to be free of artificial flavours for the most part, or at least made with real pineapple jam (and trocitos), but sadly, now they have a pronounced chemical taste. I will for sure take the challenge to make homemade versions of them all at some point; for now, I fixed some small chocolate cakes for Su’s Tea Time in the Blogosphere. Inspired by Choco Roles, small rectangles of chocolate sponge cake were filled with my chunky pineapple jam and real whipped cream, then topped with ganache:
Do you know where pineapples originated? My guess was either South Asia or Hawaii, but the pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a perennial plant indigenous to South America, more precisely from southern Brazil and Paraguay. Wild relatives grew along the shores of the Parana-Paraguay River, and the edible pineapple was domesticated by native groups and carried to other parts of South America, and through Central America, all the way to Mexico and parts of the Caribbean, where it became adopted as a source of alimentation, long before the arrival of Europeans. Christopher Columbus saw the pineapple for the first time on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493. Spaniards introduced the pineapple into the Philippines in the 16th Century, and Portuguese traders introduced it to India from the Moluccas as early as 1548, and they also brought the pineapple to the east and west coasts of Africa. Pineapples were not introduced to Hawaii until 1813, but then the fruit became one of Hawaii’s largest exported crops in the early 1900s, thanks to investments by Del Monte and the Hawaiian Pineapple Co. (today known as Dole Food Co.). By 1922, the island of Lanai had been purchased by Dole and dedicated entirely to pineapple production, becoming the world’s largest pineapple plantation. The Hawaiian pineapple production declined in the 1980s as Dole and Del Monte relocated much of their investments, mostly due to American standards of high labor and land costs. Dole closed down its Lanai operations in 1992, while Del Monte wrapped up its Hawaiian harvest in 2008. Hawaii remains the only state in the U.S. where pineapple is grown. The top producers of pineapple nowadays are Costa Rica, Brazil and The Philippines, with Mexico placing 9th.
Did you know that pineapples are the universal symbol of hospitality? Have you noticed the motif of pineapple crowns and fruits found in carvings over colonial-time doorways in Europe and some places in the US? They were adopted from the use of pineapples and pineapple crowns by natives in the Caribbean, who placed them outside their houses as symbols of friendship and hospitality. However, the pineapple as a symbol became to represent more than hospitality in Europe, where only the very wealthy could afford to buy the exotic fruit. Having a pineapple in display at a gathering would mean prestige; pineapple rentals became common, so actually serving it to guests meant they were highly regarded. Although, by the 1700s, pineapples could be grown in hothouses, the fruit continued to be considered an elegant item at parties and hotel receptions, and the pineapple motif remained a part of the architectural legacy from colonial times.
I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #439 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance andLinda @ Crafts a la Mode.