Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Made the Front Page! (with my Palm Fruit Jelly)

We jammin' in the front yard

Here I am in front of the Columbia Star office building underneath the
Pindo Palm, with what's left of a jar of Palm Fruit Jelly.
From the front page August 31 edition of The Columbia Star 

By Warren Hughes

Pam Staples remembers the long ago warmth of the country kitchen where she and the women of her family gathered for the annual ritual to preserve the summer fruits and vegetables.
The yearly practice in her grandmother’s mountain kitchen in western North Carolina was not only a culinary joy, it was also an economic habit that would ensure the large and extended family would have an abundance of vegetables, soups, and preserves from the gardens and orchards nearby to savor and sustain them in the long winter months to come.  
The resilience and resourcefulness of her grandmother, Annie Jackson Smith, are a pivotal and lasting influence in Pam’s life. When she and her husband, Hugh, set up housekeeping in Ridgeway, those memories of what a home should be served as an inspiration. Ridgeway might not have the mountain views, but the nurturing nature of her grandmother’s gardening hand and the inspired flavor of her table offerings are the same. 
“She was the best cook and homemaker I have ever known and the total pillar of the family,” Pam recalls. “She could always do absolutely everything from drying tears to milking cows, and everybody called on her for whatever the need was from a baby’s birth to a serious illness.”
 Pam also reflects her grandmother’s genetic stamp of practical thrift and economic resourcefulness. When the economy took a downward turn, and food prices rose with the price of farm to market transport, Pam was undaunted and stepped up her pace with her natural frugality to keep the pantry full of delectable offerings that would last.
One evening, when Pam was about her tasks, her husband affectionately called her “Canning Granny” in deference to her grandmother’s influence and Pam’s own natural talent. Recognizing that his wife’s gift was special and her skill a dying art, he suggested  she ought to start a computer blog to share her knowledge with others. “Hugh is my biggest supporter,” she fondly observes, and he no doubt is a most appreciative beneficiary of her efforts,  
As her devoted fan, one could say a star was born that night. Following her husband’s advice, she shared on Facebook she was starting a blog on canning and preserving. Almost immediately, there was an enthusiastic cadre eagerly accessing her posts. The numbers quickly grew into the hundreds, and today there are some 17,000 from across the world including followers from Europe, South America, and Australia as well as in the United States. 
While she reveres the values of the past, Pam, like most women, recognizes the necessity of staying on the cutting edge and possesses an impressive array of modern technology and computer skills. When she entered the job market in Columbia, she brought journalistic experience with her as a former employee of the Tryon, N.C, Bulletin, a talent quickly recognized by The Columbia Star publisher Mimi  Maddock, who hired her as assistant editor.  
Even with her daily professional responsibilities and newspaper deadlines, Pam, like her mountain forebears, always has her eye out for those environmental features she can appropriate for some practical and desirable use. The pindo palm tree at the entrance of The Columbia Star’s Shandon office did not escape her observant eye. Linda Sosbee, the financial manager, pointed out to the staff how sweet the plum-like fruit smelled. Pam’s mind immediately started spinning wondering how the fruit  would taste and what she could do with it. 
Her research revealed the fruit was non-poisonous and considered edible. If it could be done, Pam could do it. If marooned on an island as shipwrecked castaways, the survivors could only hope that someone with Pam’s resourcefulness would be among them. As Pam’s colleagues will attest, the jam that resulted from her experiment with the palm’s fruit is a sweet but tart prizewinner worthy of a blue ribbon at the State Fair.
Country biscuits brought to the office topped with the creation made for a great coffee break treat.  
With school starting, her recipe for Sloppy Joes is enticing and with cold winter nights on the horizon. Her vegetable soup mix makes for some real comfort food just like granny used to make. Find her on Facebook, her blog at http://canninggranny. or pinterest at /source/

And if you'd like the recipe... here 'tis...

Palm Fruit Jelly

3 quarts ripe palm fruit
6 cups water

Simmer fruit in the water in a large saucepan until fruit is softened, about 30 minutes, crushing fruit with a potato masher as it cooks to release juices.

Strain fruit through several layers of cheesecloth, discard fruit, measure juice collected.

In a large stainless steel saucepan mix:

5-1/2 cups fruit juice
1 box powdered pectin (Sure Jel)

Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. When liquid reaches a full, rolling boil add all at once...

7-1/2 cups sugar

Bring back to a full, rolling boil and boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and fill hot, sterilized half pint jelly jars to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Tighten hot, sterilized lids and rings on to fingertip tightness.

Process jars in a boiling water bath... ensure jars are completely covered with water, bring water to a boil, reduce heat to a gentle boil and boil, covered, for 10 minutes. After processing, remove jars from water using a jar lifter and set on a folded dish towel or cooling rack on the counter to cool and to seal.

For a printable copy of this recipe, click here.


  1. That is a nice article, I can only imagine how good the palm fruit jelly is. They need to invent digital smell and taste, what a breakthrough that would be!

    1. It IS pretty tasty... my "taste testers" compared it to peach, or apple peach combo, or mango peach combo (I had several taste testers all with differing opinions) ~~Granny

  2. new reader... there's no stopping you! How awesome! I bet that's just yummy!!!!!

    1. Thanks so much! It IS pretty tasty... my "taste testers" compared it to peach, or apple peach combo, or mango peach combo (I had several taste testers all with differing opinions) ~~Granny

  3. Pam, I've shared your page with a bunch of people. I'm going to be getting into canning (dipping a toe) this year with my Mom, we used to do it all the time when I was a kid and have gotten away from it. I'm learning a lot from your page and I thank you for creating it and sharing your joy with us.


    1. Awww... thanks so much Heather! And good luck in your canning pursuits! ~~Granny

  4. We have 4 of these palm tree in our yard. I had no idea the fruit could be eaten. I will make some of this today. Thank you so much for sharing this. Is there anything else you can use this fruit?

    1. I was thinking that next time I may try some fruit butter (like apple butter) with it, we'll see. ~~Granny

  5. Fantastic Pam! You "Go Granny!"

  6. Nice article. I have never heard of a palm fruit. But it sound really good.

  7. Granny, congrats on making the front page!
    I am new to canning ( only seen it done a couple times and done it once myself). I am also new to blogging and how it all works. It is certainly possible that you've already mentioned this in another post, however I have no idea how to go about finding it. Anyways, my question is this: Is it necessary to add salt to meats before canning it for the safety of the meat? The reason I ask this is because I plan on canning my family taco meat recipe (since when I make it, it smells up the whole house for days), and the recipe already calls for salt. I think adding more to each jar before processing it would completely ruin the taste. Is it ok to simply leave it out as long as I process it at the correct pressure and time? Thanks so much!

    1. Sure, salt is added in canning for flavor, if you don't want the added salt it's certainly not unsafe to leave it out. ~~Granny

  8. I have about 15 lbs. of ripening pindo palm fruit. I plan on making jelly or something. I love your site and am very happy I found it. I like the way you show step by step too. I've tried to make this jelly in the past and, well, didn't have a good recipe to follow, but the stuff tasted pretty good in spite of my hit and miss attempt. I'd love to share the how-to as well as the images on my website (with your permission, of course). Please email me at mariemorris65 at earthlink dot net if you can.
    Thanking you in advance,

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I have wanted to make this for years. Today was the day. It is delicious! I had one pod of seeds and the amount was nearly perfect. I had a few extra to snack on raw. I love pindo palms. Have you made this with queen Palm fruit? Thanks!!

  11. How do you know the fruit is ripe?

  12. How do you know the fruit is ripe?

    1. It's orange and slightly soft when you squeeze it. ~~Granny

  13. Hi! I have one Pindo palm and began making jelly about 3 years ago when It produced its first fruit. Its always made quite a bit but this year I've had a bumper crop. Each pod is producing nearly 15 lbs of fruit and so far I've had 10 pods!! I've made pineapple pindo, jalpeno pindo, cherry plum pindo, orange pindo and vanilla spice. Nearly 400 jars so far! It works well with so many fruits!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing. I followed your recipe but I used the fruit from my queen palm trees which are also edible.


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