|Jaboticaba 'Jewels' ripe for the picking|
Have you ever seen a fruit tree like it! A jungle of jaboticaba fruit. Attached to the truck of the tree. The stems and the branches too. Amazing!
The jaboticaba fruit is native to Brazil and it is best described as a tough-skinned purple grape-like fruit. The whole fruit is edible, however, the skin can be slightly bitter and there is a softish pip in the middle. Entirely edible. But the gorgeous part of this fruit is the colourless flesh, sweet and juicy. Hubby tends to pop the whole thing in his mouth, then spit out the pip and the skin after extracting all the flesh. I can handle the pip well; I think the roughage is good, however sometimes the skin can be too bitter to handle. My dear neighbour Philomena downs the whole lot. It's all a matter of taste.
And so the time had come for me to pull out the pot and get into the mode for jelly-making. I really didn't feel like it to be honest, but I guess cooking and eating seasonally doesn't come with the luxury of when it suits me. The fruit is ready now. If I wait any longer the birds will suss out the fruit and decimate the lot in a couple of days, sometimes even one day. No joke!
I took a couple of bowls and filled them in next to no time. The palm of my hand was full every time I reached in to pull them off. The bowls were quickly filled.
|They look like purpley black marbles|
The good thing about a making a jelly compared to a jam is that it's not necessary to be too pedantic. Simply wash off anything foreign and make sure that the fruit you use is not damaged. That's pretty much it. If the stems are on, that's fine. Let's Jell!
Whole jaboticaba fruit
3 green apples, fresh as can be will provide greater pectin
1 whole lemon or lime, straight off the tree if possible
Place the jaboticaba fruit in a large heavy-based pot, together with chopped up apple, unpeeled, uncored, unseeded - in other words the entire apple. Extract as much lemon juice as possible, add to the fruit along with any lemon pips. I used lime because I had no lemons, but I feel that perhaps lemon is the better citrus choice. Add enough water to only just reach the top of the fruit. Make sure you use your hand to press down the fruit when adding water, because the fruit can float invariably causing you to add too much water.
Place lid on pot; bring to boil; reduce to a simmer; simmer for about twenty minutes. Take off lid; using a potato masher carefully press down on the hot fruit to help squish out the fruit. Be very careful you don't splash it up and burn yourself. This step is important for maximum flavour, but care is needed so you don't get scalded with squirting liquid.
I took about five minutes to do mine; return the pressed fruit back to the heat; continue to boil gently for another 20 or 30 minutes. Lid off this time. Remove from heat. Your liquid should be very dark in colour.
Carefully line a colander with double strength muslin squares; place this into a very large stainless steel bowl; carefully pour the entire contents of your pot into the muslin. You can check out the way I do this step in my purple cherry jelly recipe.
I placed the first liquid to come through into a glass bowl and set it aside. Using a strong wooden spoon I tied the muslin onto the wooden spoon and hung it over another bowl to catch the trickling juice. Use whatever method suits you. Just remember, don't press the jelly bag at any time to try to extract more juice. We want an unclouded jelly, although I must admit in the case of the jaboticaba with the fruit being soooo dark, I do wonder if it matters.
I left the bag to hang overnight.
|The jelly bag next morning - such a lovely colour|
I measured out the juice that was collected. Way too much so I decided to halve the quantity. Don't every be tempted to use a full pot of juice to make your jelly. Not three quarters and even half full would still be pushing the limit. You see, once the sugar is added and the rapid boil is on, your liquid rises up and could easily spill over the sides of the pot. Or, spit up at you or over the sides of the pot which is even more dangerous.
I ended up with;
2050mls of jaboticaba juice
I used the rule of three quarter cup of sugar to one cup of juice; therefore I needed;
1530 white sugar
For further pectin I added 3/4 cup of home-made liquid pectin stock. Check out Celia's how to make this.
In my clean, heavy based pot I added the juice, sugar and stock. Stir over a medium low heat stirring constantly to help dissolve the sugar. If the sugar bubbles before dissolving; remove from heat; reduce heat; and continue to stir till you have no sugar granules in your juice.
Increase the heat to high; allow to rapidly boil but watch the pot! I had to remove mine from the heat a few times because my pot was half full and it rose to the top. It would of spilled over for sure if I hadn't removed it from the heat. Control the heat, by raising or lowering depending on the boil and the height of the 'rise'.
Keep checking for the 'set' of jell that you like. I probably took mine a little further than I should have. It was a firm set and in hindsight I would have preferred a slightly softer set. It doesn't affect the taste though. The boiling time of this jaboticaba jelly took 35 minutes; quite a while in terms of jellying.
|Just bread & butter with jaboticaba jelly. Simple, wholesome and good.|
There was a definite 'tangyness' that I didn't expect. Not quite sure whether it was as a result of the freshly picked lime or the extra pectin, but it was quite noticeable. I think next time I would reduce the level of added pectin and use a lemon instead of a lime. My son and Hubby both thought there was too much sugar. Oh dear. And I used the three quarter rule too. Oh well. There is a lot of sweetness in the jaboticaba flesh so perhaps less sugar for the next time.
And a next time there will be. How on earth can anything be perfected unless 'you have a go'. There is definitely room for perfecting; but I shall let you in on a little secret. My family and I are very harsh critics. It's like full on master chef judges around here. If I didn't have a little kitchen confidence, I think I would've shut shop ages ago. Just as well I can handle the food critics around here. Incidentally, the people to whom I have given little pots of jaboticaba jelly are absolutely amazed and they just loved it! So there you go.