Don’t let the lack of garden harvests fool you into thinking your canning days are over until spring. Winter is a great opportunity to clean out the freezer, can easy meals/sides (like beans) and keeping an eye on the local grocery ads for savings. My local Aldi has had pineapple on sale for the last few weeks and I finally got around to picking up a couple of heads.
I love all citrus but fresh pineapple is right at the very top of my list. Perfect balance of sweetness, tartness and always juicy. I’m one of the those people that loves pineapple with cottage cheese as a snack, I know, it’s weird, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Learning to can my own snackable pineapple cups has been on my too do list for awhile now and with the sale prices it was time to give it a shot.
If you are looking for a ready made meal using fresh pineapple I also take a look at a sweet and sour sauce recipe on my Youtube channel. You can view the video here!
It can really be a toss up whether or not a home made recipe ends up being cheaper than a store bought equivalent. This particular canning recipe is well worth the time it takes and is super cost effective (if you’re like me and use the pre-packaged snack sized pineapple cups from the store often).
I made 14 “snack cups” for myself for around 4 dollars total. If I replaced this with the cheapest store brand pineapple cup it would have cost me over 18 dollars. That’s over 4 times as much (*) ! Comparing pineapples to pineapples, homemade is ~ 4¢ per oz, versus the store bought at 17¢ per oz. A couple cents is not much in the grand scheme of things, but the little things can add up over time, especially when it comes to the grocery bill!
*Granted, I’m not taking into account the cost of replacing glass jars, lids, water or the gas to heat said water etc. but the savings is still significant*
Selecting Your Pineapple
When a pineapple is ripe it will have a slight smell of pineapple, have an all over golden color and be firm (not hard) to the touch. If it smells very strongly, and feels slightly soft it might be a little too ripe. It would still taste delicious, but may fall apart during the canning process. If you can’t smell anything at all and is very firm, your pineapple is still green and needs to sit a few days until it’s ready.
One of the biggest hurdles to fresh pineapple is dealing with how to cut it. Cutting too deep below the skin means losing precious fruit. Cut to shallowly, and you’ll end up with a mouthful of fibrous bits. I have found the method below to be the least wasteful, while remaining fairly efficient. Keep a clean wet rag handy to wipe down your board frequently. Pineapple has lots of little dried bits that like to fall off and get into your tasty chunks.
Cut approximately a 1/2 inch off from the top and bottom of your pineapple. This gives you a flat base to work with when carving the sides.
Using a sharp paring knife, cut around the sides of the pineapple following the natural curve of the fruit. Cut so that you get the majority of the skin off, but leaving the deeper pits to be removed later.
Now that the skin is removed, cut pineapple into halves or quarters. The smaller sections will be easier to work with.
It can be hard to see at first but the “eyes” actually form diagonal lines all the way around the pineapple. Still using the paring knife, make swallow angled cuts to either side of these pits and remove the small sliver of pineapple, working your way around. You’ll end up with with something that looks like this.
As you can see there’s very little waste with this methods!
Lastly, remove the fibrous core and cut into whatever size chunks you desire.
That’s it! Sit back and enjoy some fresh pineapple.
Makes: ~ 14 Half Pint jars, 8-7 Pints, 3 Quarts
Ingredients and Equipment
Two Medium/Large Pineapple, peeled and cored
Sharp Paring Knife
Glass Mason Jars, fresh clean lids and bands
Large Pot – deep enough to cover jars with two inches of water
Canning utensils – Funnel, Jar Holder
Small amount of White Vinegar
Prepare the Jars
Use a stock pot large enough to fit your jars and and have their tops covered by 1.5-2 inches of water. Place jars into pot and fill with water until jars are about 3/4 full. Add a splash of white vinegar to the pot to keep scale from building up. Set over high heat, cover with lid and bring to a boil to sanitize jars.
Pineapple can be packed in fruit juices or into a syrup depending on your preference. Additional Details can be found here on the National Center for Home Preservation Website. I choose to pack mine in a very light syrup (1/2 C of white sugar to 5 cups water) and this made the perfect amount for two heads of pineapple.
Place juice or sugar/water mixture into saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir gently to dissolve sugar (if needed) and keep at low simmer until ready to use.
Use the method pictured above or your preferred method to remove the rind and eyes from the pineapple. Chop into small chunks/ tid bits as desired. I find about four long length ways cuts per quarter, with quarter inch to half inch cuts across gives the perfect bite size pieces.
Bring your syrup/juice back up to a high simmer.
Remove hot jars from large stock pot and set on clean dishtowel covered cutting board.
Using a slotted spoon place a layer of pineapple into the simmering syrup/juice and leave for 2-3 minutes until heated through.
Remove pineapple bits from syrup and place into each jar leaving a healthy 1″ headspace.
Fill each jar the rest of the way with syrup, tapping lightly on cutting board to remove bubbles (or use a chopstick/bubble remover to remove trapped air).
Take a clean kitchen towel of paper towel dipped in white vinegar and wipe the rim of each jar.
Center lid on top of jar and tighten metal band to fingertip tight.
Repeat for all the other jars, placing each filled jar back into the large stock pan when done.
Once all your jars are filled, turn heat up to high and bring water back to a rolling boil. When water has reached a boil begin 15 minute timer. After the 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat and remove jars onto a clean dish towel covered cutting board.
The jars should start to seal within a few minutes up to overnight. Test the seal the next day by pressing on the middle of the metal top. If it does not flex your pineapple has been safely canned!
Label and store up to a year in a cool dry place and Enjoy!