Being what I call a garbage gardener I particularly enjoy preserving Pineapples. Although I do not care for the fruit my wife does and I in turn gain pleasure from planting the cut off top of the pineapple. Eventually this process creates a beautiful house plant. At this time I would like to explain how I go about preserving this valuable fruit.
It is very important that you wash the pineapple very carefully before doing anything else with it. This not only removes the eyes and tough fibers but also cleans the outer layers of the pineapple from any bacteria. It is a known fact distributed from the USDA that vegetables and fruits with rough outer hides tend to become gathering places for dangerous bacteria. Foods such as melon, cabbages, etc are breeding grounds for such hazards. With that said be sure to clean your pineapple well. If you so desire you can preserve your pineapple in sweet syrup to further enhance its flavor.
There are various types of pineapple derived products that you can preserve in your home ranging from jams, juices or simply as a fruit to delight your family. The selection is entirely up to you and depends upon your family’s choice of snacks. Since pineapple is a high-acid food, you are afforded the option of preserving it with a boiling water bath canner. I prefer to err on the side of safety and generally use our pressure cooker to jar my pineapples.
When I set out to can my pineapple, I gather all my necessary materials ahead of time. I select only the finest pineapple that I can locate as this usually produces the best results. We will require three pounds of pineapple, a broad, sharp knife, 2 1/2 cups of sugar, 5 1/4 cups of water, several large pots, jars with lids and rings the jar lifter, towels, a ladle and your pressure cooker.
We will remove the peel and the core from the fruit and cut it into slices 1/2 inch thick. If desired we could use wedges or even 1 inch chunks. Our next task would be to stir the 2 1/2 cups of sugar into the water to form a light syrup. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. It will begin to thicken as it cools.
Place your empty jars in a large soup pot with enough water to cover the very top of the jars. Now, bring this water to a rapid boil in order to sanitize your quart jars.
Add the chunks of pineapple to the syrup stirring to mix both ingredients together well. Continue to simmer until you notice that the pineapple is becoming tender and can be pierced with a table fork.
It is now time to remove the jars from the boiling water and prepare to fill them. Using a jar lifter place them carefully on top of the towel. Slowly ladle the pineapple from the syrup and pack it into the waiting jars. Once filled you can than proceed to ladle some of the syrup into the jars as well leaving a 1/2 inch to one inch of space at the top of your canning jar.
Finally, place the lids and rings on the jars and place them into the pressure canner. You should have approximately three inches of water in your pressure canner pot. Bring the water to a steady simmer and fasten its lid into place. Adjust your stove to a medium-high heat and process at 10 pounds of pressure for 18 minutes. At the end of the 18 minutes remove the pressure canner from the heat and allow it to cool naturally prior to opening it. Remove the jars and place them on the towel for about 12 hours. Now your family can enjoy pineapple at any time of the year.
Copyright @2012 Joseph Parish
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Photo. Roy Buri