Last week, some friends gave us a bag of guavas from their backyard tree. The guavas were perfectly ripe, and very fragrant… Great timing, as I was planning to make some fall jams and jellies to give away during the holidays!
While some guava jam recipes don’t call for added pectin… I think it’s a bit riskier to go that route because you can’t guarantee that the pectin level in your fruit is high enough to make the jam gel. Store bought pectin speeds up the process and makes it more foolproof that your jam will gel. I like to use “low sugar pectin” because I’m not a fan of super-sweet jam – the amount of sugar called for in this recipe is more than enough!
If you’ve never made jam at home before, it’s not hard to do… just a little bit time consuming. (The worst part for me is waiting for my giant pot of water to boil to sterilize the jars and process the jam in the water-bath canning step!) However, if you don’t intend on canning your jam, then it’s quite quick – either use the jam up quickly, or freeze your extra jam instead of going through the process of canning for pantry storage. But if you do want to water bath can your jam – it really is easy – all you need is a deep stock pot with a metal rack in the bottom, and some canning jars. Pack the hot jam into sterilized jars, seal, then boil the jars for 10 minutes – and voilà, you have home canned your jam!
Try this jam on some buttered sourdough toast… my new favorite breakfast! This also makes a nice filling for crepes, or a delicious topping for pancakes.
Guava Jam (makes about 6-7 cups):
- 4 c. diced guava (about 1.5 lb.)
- 4 c. water
- 3 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
- 3 T. lime juice
- 3 T. Low Sugar Pectin
- 1 tsp. salt
1. Wash the guavas under cold running water. (While most of the guavas should be ripe for the best flavor, it’s best to have a few (green) un-ripened guavas in the mix for higher pectin content – which will help your jam to set.)
2. Remove the stem and blossom ends, then cut the guavas into dice sized pieces.
3. Add the guava, water, vinegar, lime juice, and salt to a large pot.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer (covered) for about 30 minutes.
5. Cool the mixture (so that you can handle it without burning yourself), strain the liquid (reserve this liquid – do not throw it away!), then push the cooked fruit through a sieve to remove the seeds and skin (use the back of a wooden spoon).
6. Measure strained guava puree and add the reserved strained liquid to make 4 cups of “guava liquid” total. (If you have less than 4 cups total, then add water to make 4 c. total liquid). The photo below shows the strained guava puree before adding the reserved strained liquid back in.
7. Return the 4 c. of guava liquid back into the pot, add 3 T. low sugar pectin and simmer another about 5-10 minutes while stirring to dissolve all the pectin.
8. Add 3 cups of sugar, turn up the heat and boil hard for 1 minute.
9. Turn off the heat, and allow the jam to cool slightly. Skim any foam off the top. Carefully pour into sterilized jars. (Sterilize jars in hot boiling water before filling). If you plan to use up your jam quickly, or you don’t want to can your jam, you can refrigerate at this point (or freeze).
10. If you want to water-bath can your jam for longer shelf life, wipe the rims of the jars, then seal the jars (finger tight only) with sterilized (new) lids and sterilized rings. (Remember, these canning jars and rings are reusable, but you will need to use new jar lids every time!) Place the jars into a hot water bath (basically a tall stock pot with a rack in the bottom), making sure the hot water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Return to a boil (don’t be tricked by air bubbles escaping your jars), cover with a lid, and process (boil) for 10 minutes. (You will need to process longer if you are at a higher elevation – adjust time depending on your elevation.)
11. Remove from the hot water carefully using tongs or a jar lifter, and set aside to cool. You will hear a popping sound as the jars form a vacuum seal. When the jars are completely cool (12-24 hours later) you can test the seal by pressing on the top of the lids – (if they move, and you hear a clicking sound – your jar is not sealed properly). Properly sealed jars can be stored in a pantry for up to a year - but note that as the jam ages, it may discolor. For more information on home canning jams and jellies, see the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.