Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical and subtropical plant with numerous palatable fruitlets called coalesced berries, each fruitlet is the eye of the pineapple. It belongs to the Bromeliaceae family. Pineapples can be eaten fresh, cooked, juiced, preserved or as jam spread. Pineapples can also be eaten as a snack or added to desserts like fruit salads. They are often added to savoury Asian dishes like pineapple fried rice, sweet and sour pork, chicken stir-frys, and curries. For western cuisines, pineapples are commonly added as pizza toppings in Hawaiian pizza and as a grilled ring on a burger. Pineapple pureed is used to make jam, sweets, ice cream and yogurt. This recipe is not only naturally gluten free, it is vegan, dairy free, soy free, egg free, corn free, nut free and has no artificial colour.
Pineapple jam is a lavish and wholesome spread for several foods, adding a delightful flavour to any dish. Although, commercial pineapple jams and preserves are widely available, they usually have colouring, preservatives and other additives added. Making pineapple jam is extremely easy, and homemade means you only use fresh and natural ingredients without all the additives and can adjust the sweetness and consistency of the jam according to your preferences. When choosing pineapples, select those that do not have any blemishes, soft spots and darkened “eyes”, indications that the pineapples are not fresh. Once pineapples are harvested, they stop ripening so pick those that are sweet smelling, do not select those that smells mouldy and sour.
For my gluten free recipe, I am using really sweet and juicy Australian fresh pineapples from Queensland, caster sugar or agave sugar (they both work well), and added spices like cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves, resulting in a really aromatic and splendid jam. Pineapple jam is perfect as a spread for breads, toasts, crackers and tarts. Also used for glazing cakes and in muffins. The most popular way of using pineapple jam in desserts in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is to make the ever so popular pineapple tarts. There are two versions of pineapple tarts, either baked as small open-faced tarts or mini sausage roll shapes. Check out my recipe for gluten free open-faced pineapple tarts here. When making pineapple tarts, I make the jam dryer than when making it as a spread as the jam needs to be dry enough to roll into small balls. Pineapple tarts are well-liked in Southeast Asia, they are available commercially all year round, i.e. the gluten version. But the most popular time of consuming pineapple tarts is during festive seasons like Chinese New Year and Hari Raya. They can also be included in food hampers as gifts for family and friends.