Starfruit Preserves

“Starfruit has been a very underutilized commodity. It grows like a weed and produces endlessly. The jelly is very marketable. There is nothing like it. People go somewhere just because of a sauce or jelly. How bout a glaze for fish or chicken? There is nothing out there like it.”

My neighbor shared these kind words after loading me up with a huge baskets of his starfruit, which were on the sour side this year. This was my second gleaning from his tree, and I had just dropped of a jar of the starfruit preserves I made. One of both of our favorite things about this preserves recipe is that the stars stay intact, so it’s a treat for the eyes to spoon the honey-colored sweet stars onto your toast!

It took some searching to find what looked like a promising starfruit preservation method. I suppose it is just because of the uncommonness of this fruit in nontropical regions. I finally found this Ghanaian study, which was a great place to start! The Preparation of Jam: Using Star Fruit. I modified the recipe somewhat, and I’ve made it twice. The first batch needed far less pectin than the second, so be sure to do the plate test to check that the jam will set before spooning into the jars.

Recipe

Yield: About 10 half pint jars.

Ingredients:
750 g sugar
1 1/3 c. water
1 kg starfruit
1 organic/homegrown lemon

Process:

  1. Wash all starfruit, making sure to get between ribs. I used a cloth to get any debris off of the waxy surface.
  2. Cut edges of ribs and each end off.
  3. Slice horizontally into star shaped slices, removing seeds as you go.
  4. Weigh out sugar and mix with water in a large pot, set to simmer to a light caramel color.
  5. Add 1 kg sliced starfruit.
  6. Add about 3 T. lemon zest.
  7. Add about 2 T. lemon juice.
  8. Simmer about 30 minutes.
  9. Add about 4 T. pectin. Stir in for 3 minutes.
  10. Perform cold plate test to ensure liquid is set. If not, repeat adding pectin until cold test shows accurate setting.
  11. Spoon into sterilized jars.
  12. The rest is just typical processing of jam or preserves, so it’s easy to find detailed instructions. Basically…
  13. Be sure to wipe any preserves from rims of jars to ensure the lids make a good seal.
  14. Heat lids on low to soften sealing agent.
  15. Place lids and rims on filled jars.
  16. Process in water bath canner with boiling water about 8 minutes. Leave to set for a few hours until cool.
Jasmina shows off the pre-jam bounty in our yarden!

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