Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Paradise Preserves

Summer. Sun. Sweet, ripe, fruits. This is what's going to come to mind when you try this Paradise Preserve. Pineapples were on sale at the store. Beautiful, juicy pineapples that were both sweet and tart. I grabbed a few, I knew I wanted to eat some fresh and make preserves with them also. I wasn't sure how to do it. This is my first "let's wing it" preserve recipe.
Here are some thoughts-
It's good. You can taste all the components, the pineapple, the coconut, the lime zest gives a pop of flavor. The pineapple was perfect to make preserves with! Even without pectin, this set up beautifully. I used a candy thermometer to make sure I boiled it long enough.
It's on the tart side so, if you don't like that cut the lemon juice/lime juice. I like tart. 
  I ended up using Cream of Coconut concentrate, for the coconut part of this recipe.The coconut flavor was perfect, for the girls and I. I also used a coconut milk powder, which is just coconut milk in powder form. DH isn't a fan of coconut and said it was too coco-nutty. So it was good for me, maybe a tablespoon or two less coconut for someone who doesn't like as much coconut. I wanted the flavor of coconut, but not the texture. So I didn't want to use flakes or coconut. A friend of mine suggested the cream off the top of a can of coconut. I think that would be perfect, next time I'll try that, instead of the concentrate and powder. I also added a splash of Vanilla Extract that I made.
The preserves are great on toast, on cream cheese and crackers, I bet you could glaze a ham with it also. I'm so excited, I made 9, almost 10 jars (eight ounces each). I know we'll have pineapples to eat fresh over the summer, but in the winter, these jars will be a welcome treat!

 Paradise Preserves

9-10 eight ounce jars
2 pineapples- peeled, eye's removed (See here on how to cut a pineapple.)
4 cups cane sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (I use bottled)
2 limes, juiced to make 3/4 cup total including the lemon juice
3-5 tablespoons coconut milk powder
zest from 2-3 limes
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

For the preserves.
Dice one of the pineapples, in a small dice- I got 7 1/2 cups. The second pineapple I cut into chunks and put it in my blender to make "crushed" pineapple. They were pretty big pineapples.
Put the ingredients in a large pot. I used a 5 qt dutch oven.
Heat the mixture on medium heat. Stirring occasionally. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the candy thermometer reaches 215- 220 degrees. Check the National Center for Home Preservation, for your elevation.
Ladle into prepared jars leaving 1 inch at the top to allow for expansion, if canning.

To process for canning.
 Prep your jars, lids, funnel, and ladle, for canning if you plan on canning these preserves. Keep these items in the hot water to stay warm.
Fill each jar with preserves, leaving 1 inch of space for expansion.
Wipe the rims of the jars, place the lids on top. Place the rings on top and close them "finger tight", just barely, leaving room for air to escape.
Return the jars to the stock pot of water. I put a dish towel on the bottom and then place the jars on top. Make sure the jars are covered by one inch of water. Bring the water to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Once the ten minutes are over, turn off the heat. Let the jars sit in the water for five minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath, set them on a dish towel to cool on the counter to room temperature. After they are cooled check to see that the lids are sealed. Dry the rings, screw them on. Label the jars and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

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