Pineapple jam is not the most popular of jam varieties with the food storage crowd. This is completely understandable; after all, pineapple is a tropical fruit and in the heyday of canning people canned what they could grow and put away for the winter. Since winter never comes to the places where pineapple grows, the need for canning it wasn't as great. Even now it's not a popular jam fruit that you'll find in grocery stores. It's more of a specialty jam.
Today pineapples are everywhere and plentiful, and depending on the time of year they're sold you can get them at a relatively reasonable price. Sometimes they're downright cheap. There is some controversy over the farming practices of pineapple in certain regions of the world. However, if you can get some fresh pineapple from a trusted source making jam will provide a tasty treat for your family or a unique homemade gift.
How To Make And Can Pineapple Jam Step-by-Step
The first thing you'll need to do is to take the crown and skin off the pineapple. Be sure to watch the video below on how to can fresh pineapple chunks where I go over a few techniques for getting this done. Once you have your pineapple skinned then chop it into chunks small enough to fit inside of a food processor.
Using a food processor pulse your pineapple chunks until you have a thick pulp. I'm starting with about 10 cups of pineapple. Since not all of it will fit into my food processor, I'm working in batches.
Wash all of your jars, rings, and lids.
For this recipe I'm using Pomona's Universal Pectin. Be sure to mix up your calcium water before you put your pineapple on the stove so you'll be ready to go.
Unlike traditional pectin, which relies on sugar or chemicals to jell, Pomona's Universal Pectin needs calcium water to jell. The calcium water can be added to the fruit at any time. The fruit mixture does not need to be boiling in order to add the calcium water. So go ahead and add it once you've got your pineapple in the pot.
You don't need to sterilize your jars for this recipe, however, I don't discourage sterilizing if that is how you were taught to can. Sterilizing your jars will make them hot and will help prevent broken jars which can occur when placing cold jars into a hot water bath canner. I like to use my oven to keep my jars warm while they're waiting to be filled.
Go ahead and put your canner on the stove and turn the burner to medium heat to simmer some water.
Mix your sugar and pectin together if you're using Pomona's Universal Pectin; if you're using traditional pectin follow the directions that came with it. If you want your jam to be super thick you can cook down your fruit mixture for a bit - 30 minutes or so. If you're good with a thinner jam go ahead and bring your fruit to a full boil. Then add your sugar and pectin mixture. With Pomona's you can use as much or as little sugar as you like--you can even use no sugar. Here I'm adding about 5 cups of sugar. So this is a low sugar jam but not a no sugar jam. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes so that the sugar and pectin can dissolve. Then return to a boil. Now, you're ready to load your jars.
At this point you can do a freezer test if you're worried about your jam setting. To do a freezer test take a small plate and set it in the freezer. After it's been in there 10 to 20 minutes (so you'll want to place it in the freezer beforehand) take it out and place a small amount of jam on the plate. If the jam runs it won't set (probably). If it doesn't run down the plate it will set just fine. If your jam doesn't pass this test then you can start the process all over by adding more pectin and calcium water, or you can just move forward knowing your jam will be on the loose side. It will still taste just as good.
Fill your jars.
Remove air bubbles. I like using this handy tool for getting out the air bubbles. Always use a utensil that is plastic or wood. Don't use metal as it could scrap the inside of the glass jar.
Measure for headspace. The other side of the air bubble remover helps measure headspace. For pineapple jam I need to leave 1/4 inch of headspace.
Looks good enough to just spoon out of the jar and eat it, doesn't it? Even though I used a funnel there is still a bit of jam on the rim of the jar. This needs to be removed to ensure that the lid makes a good seal.
Take a damp towel and wipe the rims of your jars.
Place the lids on top of your jars. Ball recommends that you do not heat the lids and rings any more. So after I wash them I just set them aside until I'm ready to place them on my jars.
Place the rings on finger tight. In other words just tight enough so that don't turn easily with your fingers anymore. Don't tighten them too tight or the lid might buckle in the water bath canner.
Place your jars in your canner.
Here I have different sized jars so I going to bring the water up to a boil and then start my timer for the time required to can the largest jar. Make sure there is one to two inches of water above the top of your jars.
This is my favorite canner by Victorio. It has a glass lid so I can see when the water is boiling. Once the water is boiling you can start your timer. Pineapple jam needs to be processed for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. You can find adjustments for altitude here. To look up your altitude go here. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water for about 5 minutes. Then remove the jars from the canner.
Be sure to check out the video below for tips and tricks on how to cut pineapple and how to can pineapple chunks.