I know that some of you reading this post are basking in warm sunshine with balmy breezes whispering across your face and clear blue skies overhead. I got a message from a Facebook friend living on the Gold Coast of Australia, who shared that it was 32˚C (89˚F) there yesterday.
I have to, somewhat sadly, declare that is definitely not the case on this side of the beautiful globe we call Earth.
The forecast for tonight, here in North Carolina is for snow and icy rain. 100% chance! The schools have already been cancelled and when Scott went out a few hours ago to run to Home Depot, which is only a few blocks away from our home, he didn't even get to the end of our street before he started slipping and sliding. He turned right around and came back home.
Don't tell him that I shared this, but that means the roads were pretty darn horrible, as he loves (as in L O V E S) Home Depot and heads over there any time he has the tiniest excuse. He definitely wouldn't let a little snow stop him.
All that to say, I thought many of you might need a bit of sunshine today. Though the skies are gray with sleet, snow and rain falling all at once, it doesn't matter, this kind of sunshine comes in a jar.
I had a beautiful pineapple sitting on the counter last week, and decided to have some fun with it. We love sweet and spicy jams and jellies, and that's the direction I went with my pineapple this time.
With only five ingredients; pineapple, sugar, Sriracha chili sauce, fresh lemon juice and some Certo (liquid pectin or thickener), this jam comes together in less than 30 minutes. And guess what? It's a freezer jam, meaning that there's minimal cooking involved, it retains the fresh flavor of the fruit and there's no canning knowledge needed. Another bonus - if you won't be using the jam within the next month, it can be stored in the freezer. How cool (literally) is that?
With this Pineapple-Sriracha Freezer Jam, it's the pineapple flavor that shines with a wonderful punch of spiciness from the Sriracha.
What would you do with this jar of sunshine? I was hoping you'd ask.
There are lots of fun and delicious ways to use it. You can see in the pictures how I like to use it as a pretty appetizer: just roll a log of creamy goat cheese in some finely chopped parsley and serve on a platter with a small bowl of Pineapple-Sriracha Jam and some nice crackers.
It's also wonderful spooned over cream cheese or as a spread on a sandwich (try it on a grilled ham and cheese - oh my!). It's wonderful to serve at the dinner table with hot dinner rolls and butter, and is fantastic in the morning on fresh-from-the-oven biscuits.
Another idea is to use it to make a fun and unique salad dressing; add a generous spoonful to a small mason jar. Throw in a splash of rice vinegar, a minced clove of fresh garlic, a pinch of sea salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Cover and shake well, then drizzle in extra virgin olive oil (about twice as much as the rice vinegar). Taste and adjust. Voila! A super delicious dressing in minutes!
Have I sold you? Once your family and friends take the first taste they'll be sold, for sure! So, if your roads aren't icy or snow-covered, run out and pick up a pineapple, a bottle of Sriracha (found in the Asian section of most larger grocery stores) and a packet of liquid pectin (I use Certo). Before you know it, your counter will be lined up with jars of sunshine too!
P.S. Looking for some fun jars for your jam? I love these Weck jars.
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- 3 cups* diced fresh pineapple well-drained
- 6 cups* sugar measured into separate bowl
- 2 packets Certo liquid pectin**
- 3 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce more if you like things really spicy
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Wash and dry small canning jars or plastic containers with lids. The recipe will make 8 cups of jam, so the quantity of jars you'll need will depend on the size of your jars.
Measure exactly 3 cups chopped, well-drained pineapple into a large bowl. Stir in exactly 6 cups of sugar (level sugar off with a knife) and Sriracha. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place bowl in microwave and cook on high power for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir well. Return to microwave and cook on high for another 2 minutes. This will help dissolve the sugar and prevent your jam from being "grainy".
Mix pectin and lemon juice. Add to pineapple mixture; stir for 3 minutes. Take a taste. Sugar should be completely dissolved and there should be no graininess. If sugar is not dissolved, continue to stir for another minute or two.
Fill all containers immediately to within ½ inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers and cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.
*Jam and jelly making is an exact science, so be sure to measure very accurately. This is not the time to improvise, as you may not have good results. Occasionally, jams and/or jellies do not thicken. I don't know why this happens, but every now and then I have this problem. Kraft has instructions to remedy the problem here.
**Certo seems to be located in a different area at almost every grocery store. I just ask one of the clerks where they have "the jam and jelly making supplies" if I have any problem and they direct me to the right place.