March 24, 2011

Carissa Jelly!

Did you know that there's a plant called Carissa? It's a shrub grown in more tropical regions than PA. How exciting is that!?

 The couple we were visiting in Florida have Carissas around their pool. The fruit it produces is called a Carissa or a natal plum. They're small and reddish pink with a taste that's somewhere between strawberry and cranberry. Apparently the rest of the bush is poisonous.

They froze the fruit that ripened over the last few months so that we could make jelly.

We cooked the fruit to soften it...

...and then mashed it on mesh so that the juice came through. The mashed stuff wasn't too pretty.

After adding lemon juice and sugar, we stirred for 20 minutes until it thickened and "sheeted" off the spoon. It was such a pretty, frothy pink!


Behold - Carissa jelly!

It's just so pretty and pink! We had the bit that didn't fit into the jars the next morning for breakfast.

It tasted sort of like strawberry jelly, but it was more tart. Mmmm! I couldn't bring a jar back because we were carrying our luggage onto the plane, but they're bringing me one when they drive up next month.

Carissa Jelly
adapted from the Tropical Fruit Cookbook
Make 2 jars + some for snacking!
2 cups Carissa fruit, whole
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice

Wash Carissas and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes or until fruit is soft. Strain juice through a mesh strainer into a large saucepan. (Make sure it's WAY bigger than you think you need. It bubbles and foams while cooking.) Mash fruit and let drain. Stir in sugar and lemon/orange juices until dissolved. Heat mixture on high and maintain a rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken and sheets off the spoon. Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars. Let gel and then screw lids on tightly. Even without officially canning it, the jelly should last for several weeks. (Since this batch only makes 2 jars, it didn't seem worth going through the whole canning process!)


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