the guava tree went gangbusters this year so yesterday i went berserk and picked 17 pounds because… i’m selling the house.
yup. it’s time for reinvention once again.
away with the old and in with the new… and unknown. all i know is that the guava tree has given me at least two good preserve-making seasons in seven years. this time around i did habanero/guava jelly in addition to jam. i had to whip out mcgee and see what the deal is with pectin because i have never made jelly – i mostly stick to the fruit butters and conserves.
pectin and sugar seem to be best friends but there is something sort of appalling about adding 7 cups of sugar to ANYTHING. so i got ingenious. mcgee maintains that at 65% solution the pectin/sugar/acid matrix should gel. so i decided to add less sugar but cook it down longer – which is actually the same thing as adding a ton of sugar but it takes longer and adds (seems to me) a richer more caramelized taste to the whole proceeding.
the habanero idea came from the concept of mint jelly for some reason. i chopped three habanero chilies finely and added the zest/peel of a couple of meyer lemons and let that cook down until the guava juice (extracted the night before by adding water to the 17 pounds of fruit and cooking it.) the resultant juice was ruby colored and spicy. i strained it several times through a flour sack towel (i have always wondered what a jelly bag was for. now i know) and cooked it some more. mcgee says that once the solution reaches a temperature above 212 (217 and up) the sugar content is about 65%. i got it up to 217, added lemon juice and the liquid pectin.
i infused the guava puree with garam masala spices, star anise and allspice. i decided to just go pectin-mad and added some to the jam which i usually do not do.
now the jars are sitting there waiting to gel. i’m not going to freak out about whether or not they will gel for a week or so (freak out MORE than i am already what with the whole finding-selling-moving of it all.) I’ve also put up a gallon of guava mead and i’m soaking some fresh olives (which i have never seen in bulk) i found at super king. terribly exciting – went back – no mas. some armenian meemaw scored them all. olives are definitely on deck for experimentation wherever i land. if i have a kitchen of any size. here for the record is the kitchen i designed and built (i’m not exaggerating) with my own two hands:
and here’s the last project from said kitchen: