Pindo Palms are a common landscape plant in southern climates. Most owners are glad to give away the fruit, and surprised to know they are edible.
Yellow, pineapple sweet and tart at the same time, Pindo Palms are the lost fruit, once the stable of every southern yard. Now it’s considered a tree that creates a mess on lawns. One of the common complaints about the Pindo Palm is that it produces too much fruit… Think about that: Only a nation with yards of decapitated grass and an obesity epidemic would think a plant produces too much food.
The name Pindo comes from the town of Pindo in southern Brazil where the palm is native. They are not bothered by insects or disease pests and easy to grow if your climate does not get into the lower teens in winter.
Pindo Palm fruit grows in large clusters. I love to eat them fresh from the tree, but they make a jelly too. A common name for these trees is a Jelly Palm, because the fruit is good and high in pectin.
I cut a large cluster from a tree in the landscape of a local subdivision and made some jelly.
Pindo Palm Jelly
Makes 8 (8-ounce) jars.
- 6-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
- 4-quart heavy bottom pot
- large bowl
- sieve or food mill
- potato masher
- 8 (8-ounce) jelly jars with lids and bands
- canning pot with lid
- wide mouth funnel
- jar lifter
- 1 gallon Pindo Palm fruit
- 4-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 package dry pectin
Pull fruit from the cluster and rinse the fruit. Cut each fruit with a sharp knife and pull out the seed, really ripe fruit can be squeezed until the seed pops out. Put the fruit in a 6-quart pot. Add water just until the fruit starts to float. Cover with the lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the fruits are soft, about 30 to 40 minutes. Mash the fruit using the potato masher.
Press the mixture through a sieve or use a food mill to separate the juice from the skins. You should end up with about 5 to 6 cups of thick orange juice. Transfer the juice into the 4-quart pot.
Mix together the pectin and 1/4 cup of the sugar, then add to the fruit juice and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining sugar and bring back to a full boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. The mixture should have small bubbles constantly breaking the surface. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, then test the mixture by spooning a little out onto a plate. Wait a few minutes and check the jelly, it should start to set as it cools. If it’s too runny, continue cooking and checking every 5 minutes.
While the mixture cooks, place the jars in the canning pot and add water until it’s 1 inch over the top of the jars. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat, leaving the jars in for at least 10 minutes. In the small pot, heat water to 180° F. Add the lids and leave them in for at least 10 minutes to soften the sealing compound and sterilize them. Do not boil the lids to avoid seal failure.
When the mixture is ready, drain and remove the jars from the pot. Turn on the heat for the canning pot and bring the water temperature up to 180° F. Ladle the jelly mixture into the jars using the wide mouth funnel, leaving about 1/4-inch headspace. Run a thin spatula around the inside edge of the jar to remove bubbles. Wipe the top of the jars clean with a clean damp cloth and place the hot lids on top. Add the bands and tighten just until finger tight.
Use the jar lifter to gently lower the jars into the hot water. Cover with the lid and bring back to a rolling boil. Process for 10 minutes, then use the jar lifter to remove the jars from the pot. Place hot jars on a wooden board and leave them for 12 to 24 hours, until they cool completely. Check for a seal after they have cooled. Store sealed jars in a cool dark place for up to 12 months. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.
Don’t pass up an opportunity to try the fruit of the Pindo Palm. That’s the way we do it at the 40 acre woods.