I learned that they ARE in fact edible and people use them to make Palm Jelly! The fruits are everywhere this time of year and from what I understand, very under appreciated as well. A "Jelly Palm" is the old gulf coast name for what most would know as "Pindo Palms", Butia capitata.
So how do they taste? I would describe them as a cross between a peach-mango-apricot. Because most trees put off slightly different tasting fruits, some may have a hint of banana or be tart like a lemon. When very ripe they are close to the taste of a persimmon.
Below is the recipe I used for making my Palm Jelly, however I extracted the fruit using my steam juicer.
fruit sepals that have been removed
fruit washed, sepals removed and ready to have juice extracted
Butia Palm Fruit Jelly
Preparation of Juice:
- 3 quarts fully ripe fruit
- 6 cups water
Sort fruit, wash and remove sepals if still attached. Barely cover with water (about 6 cups), bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. You can try to crush the fruit with a potato masher after it starts to cook; however, the seeds are so large that the masher only partially crushes.
Collect juice as it drains through a colander, then strain juice two or three times through several thicknesses of damp cheesecloth. Let sit in refrigerator overnight because it will still contain lots of solids. The next day, pour off juice, leaving residue in bottom of container, and strain juice again. The juice may never be perfectly clear. The natural color is yellowish amber. The jelly is much prettier if tinted with red food coloring.
Making the Jelly:
- 5½ cups strained juice (see above)
- 1 box powdered pectin
- 7½ cups sugar
Yield: About 8 half-pint jars
Procedure: Wash and rinse half-pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's directions.
Measure palm fruit juice into a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Stir pectin into juice until dissolved, add food coloring, and bring quickly to a hard boil, stirring occasionally. Add sugar all at once. Stir until sugar dissolves.
Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down); boil hard for 1 minute and 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; quickly skim off foam with metal spoon. Fill into clean, hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head-space. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Palm Fruit Jelly with Powdered Pectin in a boiling water canner.|
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
*Adapted from: Dr. Ruth Patrick, Former Extension Specialist, LSU AgCenter (Extension Service), by National Center for Home Food Preservation, August 28, 2006.*