Similar to jelly and jam, pineapple preserves are a type of condiment made with pineapple. Unlike jelly, which uses fruit juice, and jam, which uses fruit pulp, preserves are made with actual fruit pieces, and so are chunkier than the other alternatives. Although pineapple preserves can be found commercially, both in stores and online, the pineapple flavor is less popular in many areas than the more common alternatives, and so may not be available in some stores. This condiment can be homemade but generally requires sterilized jars and a canner.
The simplest versions of pineapple preserves use just pineapple and sugar. Either fresh or canned pineapple can be used, but the juice should be preserved from both. If canned, the pineapple is usually crushed, whereas fresh pineapple is cut into small cubes. Most versions also add lemon juice and, sometimes, vanilla. Occasionally other fruits, such as pears, may be combined with the pineapple as well.
To make pineapple preserves, pineapple, complete with juice, can be boiled in a pan with sugar until the mixture thickens. The preserves are constantly stirred while boiling. Doneness may be determined by the thickness or the temperature of the mixture. Once complete, the mixture is poured into jars and allowed to cool.
More complex version boil and reduce the juice first. If other fruits are included, they are boiled with the juice. Then, the pineapple is added and allowed to cook briefly before the sugar is included. After the sugar has dissolved, the lemon juice and vanilla, if used, may be added as well.
Other versions of pineapple preserves suggest coating freshly cut pineapple cubes in sugar and then allowing the mixture to sit overnight. Afterward, the pineapple chunks are removed, and the remaining sugary juice is boiled and cooled to create a syrup. Once the syrup is cooled, the pineapple pieces are added and the mixture is returned to the heat to simmer until tender. When the pineapple is tender, the preserves can be canned.
Homemade pineapples preserves require an electric canner in order to be stored for any length of time without refrigeration. If placed in sterilized jars and processed in a canner, the preserves may be stored in a cupboard or pantry for up to a year as long as the jars remain sealed. After a jar is opened, however, the homemade preserves must be refrigerated and have about the same shelf life as the commercial versions.