Pineapple-Jalapeño Jelly

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Fall has me wanting to cook, bake, can and preserve our garden harvest!  In our garden we have some huge pineapple tomatillo plants {also known as ground cherries}.  I didn’t intend to plant them…but it was a happy accident.  I thought I had planted tomatillos…the tomatillos that make salsa verde!  But no, I failed to read the fine print on the seed packet and it wasn’t until the fruit was ripe and falling on the ground that I realized they were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing and my frustration was misguided!

Pineapple tomatillos look just like green tomatillos with the husk, just a lot smaller.  When they ripen the husk turns papery and brown and they fall to the ground.  Hence also being know as ‘ground cherries’. The fruit itself turns a deep yellow color and has a pineapple flavor.  Really sweet and really tasty!

So in effort to preserve all of these pineapple tomatillos, I set out to find some jelly, jam and salsa recipes.  I came across a few and this is a mash up of those recipes with some changes to our family’s taste.  Enjoy!

Pineapple-Jalapeño Jelly

5 cups of sugar

2.5 cups pineapple tomatillos/ground cherries {husk removed}

3 cups red wine vinegar

1 large green bell pepper

10 jalapeños {ours were on the small side, adjust to your level of spice}

2.5 tbsp low-sugar pectin

  1.  In a food processor, process your peppers, tomatillos & vinegar until smooth {at least until no big chunks}.  Put this mix into a pot.
  2. Add sugar to the pot and heat until sugar is dissolved.  Once the sugar is dissolved, add your pectin and whisk until that is also dissolved.
  3. Bring everything to a rolling boil.  You may get some foam on top…a trick for any jam/jelly recipe to keep the foam down is to add a tablespoon or so of butter.  It breaks the surface tension and minimizes foaming.
  4. Lower the heat to a high simmer for approximately  10-15 minutes.  At this point, it’s time for the “wrinkle test”.  Place a small plate in the freezer to chill. Once chilled, take the plate and put a small spoonful of the jelly mixture on the plate. Once it’s cool enough to touch {30 seconds or so} use your finger to push the jelly across the plate.  If it wrinkles, it’s time to can!  If it doesn’t wrinkle, keep simmering.
  5. If it’s not time to can, keep simmering and test again every 5 minutes until you hit wrinkle stage.
  6. To sterilize your jars for canning you can do a water bath, food-grade sterilizing solution…whatever your preference is.  I like to leave my mason jars and rings in a 200F oven for 10 or more minutes {usually while I’m making the jelly}.  This will sterilize the jars, and also minimize breaking when you pour in the piping hot jelly mixture!  For the lids I place them in a pot of boiling water also for 5-10 minutes.
  7. I know it sounds obvious, but use ‘sterile technique’ {from my medical days!} when filling and putting lids on jars.  You spent all that time getting them clean- don’t screw it up now!
  8. This recipe makes 6 half-pint jars.

 

Once each jar is full, put the clean lid on right away.  The heat from the jelly will create a vacuum on the jar and lid and give you that telltale ‘pop’ sound.  Cool on the counter and later store unopened in a cool spot or the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Slather liberally on brie or cream cheese!  Enjoy!

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