CSA is great, but there is nothing like food from your own back garden, or in this case, Mark Anderson’s garden. Mark gave us a big bag of guavas this weekend. Guavas in Florida are like zucchini in the Midwest, once they come, they really come. So we gorged ourselves on fresh guava and as the heady olor de la guayaba filled the house I decided to make jelly.
- As many guava as you can get, washed and quartered.
- Lime juice.
Put the guava in a large non-reactive pot. No need to remove the skins, seeds, just cut them up and dump them in there. Add just enough water to barely cover the fruit. Bring to the boil and, on an active simmer, cook for 30 minutes covered, or until the fruit is very soft and the seeds and pulp are separating from the cascos, the shells. If you have a jelly bag and stand pour the cooked fruit into it over a bowl. If you don’t, then place a large sheet of cheese cloth over a large bowl. Pour the fruit into the center of the cheese cloth and tie the cloth closed with enough spare to tie the cheese cloth bag to a wooden spoon (or two) so that you can suspend it over the bowl. Let the juice drip from the bag. Do not press on the fruit pulp or stir it in any way. If you do, the jelly will be cloudy. Let it drip until the single drips are at least 30 seconds apart. This may take all afternoon, or you can leave it overnight. Discard the pulp in the compost.
OK, now we are ready to make the jelly. Measure the amount of juice you have. Pour it into the large non-reactive pot (having cleaned the pot.) Add the same amount of sugar to the pot. This being the US, I did it in cups. So, I got five cups of juice and added five cups of sugar. Also add one tablespoon of lime juice for each cup of juice. Bring the mixture to the boil stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Watch the pot, it can easily boil over. Turn the heat down until you can maintain a rolling boil. A white foam will form at the sides of the pot, skim as much of this off as you can and discard. This will improve the clarity of the jelly. If you have a kitchen thermometer set it to 225 degrees F. If you don’t, check the jelly in one of the two traditional ways; coat a wooden spoon in the jelly, hold the spoon horizontally, and watch it drip off. If the drips fall from one spot it is not ready, keep boiling until the drips fall from two spots. Or pour a small amount of jelly on to a saucer. Place the saucer in the freeze for 30 seconds. Push the jelly with your finger. If it wrinkles, it is ready. Once ready pour the jelly into jars. I store mine in the fridge.