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I would like to make a jam (or perhaps more like a preserve/conserve or even marmalade; see this question for distinction) out of either

  • the entire, whole coffee cherry (a.k.a. coffee berry; beans and all), or
  • the skin and pulp of coffee cherries (i.e., the flesh of the fruit -- everything except for the beans. Often discarded from "normal" coffee production, these skin, pulp, and pectin remnants seem to be called "husks", which sounds a little odd or misleading; thanks to @Jefromi for articulating this).

Edit: I tried to clarify the usage of fruit and husks; I'm trying to use the canonical terms as best as I understand them.

A bit of background for completeness: coffee beans (really seeds) grow inside a fruit that grows on the coffee tree. This fruit of the coffee tree is commonly called a coffee cherry or coffee berry, (looking a bit like a red cranberry or cherry when ripe). There are good pictures on that linked Wikipedia page, and a botanical diagram at wikia.

I found a source of dried coffee cherry husks (i.e., the dried skin and pulp of the fruit). In general, one can infuse these husks (or the whole, dried fruits), as a tisane, to make coffee cherry tea (also called cascara, or qishr -- see another Coffee.SE question for more on coffee cherry tea). I haven't (yet?) found any source of whole coffee cherries, so I intend to start with the husks (dried skin and pulp only). I could even consider gelling the brewed coffee-cherry tea as a jelly, if all else fails.

My questions are:

  • Has anyone (around here) made jam/preserves with coffee cherries or the pulp/husks?
  • Does anyone know the properties of coffee cherry fruit/husks, as pertain to jam-making? E.g., natural pectin content, if the skin/pulp is starchy or totally inedible, or other relevant factors.
  • Are there any traditional methods for doing this? E.g., recommended sugars to use, recommend gelling agents (pectin, agar, gelatine, ...), how to prepare the coffee fruit/husks for use, etc.

The credit for this question (and my obsession therewith) goes entirely to @EricPlaton over at Coffee.SE, by his original question about the topic, with a bit of suggestion by @Jefromi to ask about foodstuff-process-related topics here at SA. It sounds coffee cherry jam is made locally in some coffee-producing countries, so this concept isn't novel; however, prepared jam doesn't seem to be available more broadly.

As a side note, I've had coffee jelly, which is produced using (conventional, roasted, brewed) coffee and agar or gelatine, but that is not what I'm asking about. I'm also not here talking about using the roasted or un-roated beans themselves, which might be a separate, fascinating (to me) topic...

  • The cascara/coffee cherry tea page suggests that it's made out of dried berries. It sounds like "husk" is just a name (from Spanish cáscara), perhaps because it's the "husk" around the bean, the part everyone actually wants. And the site you found says it's the "skin and pulp of coffee cherries". It sound like "husk" might be a misleading name here - unless I'm missing something, it's actually just the (dried) fruit. – Cascabel Feb 19 '15 at 21:15
  • @Jefromi - and I'm not an expert on this, I'm merely obsessed. :) My read of the cascara Wikipedia page (and other pages) says that cascara is either made with just the husks or the entire berry; it seems the former is likely, because (like you said) the bean part is in highest demand. The qishr page (also linked above) explicitly says it's just the husks; "husk" to me in this sense means generically "the stuff around the beans" -- but maybe I'm wrong. Off to read more... – hoc_age Feb 19 '15 at 21:26
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    "Husk" is just a really unusual name for dried fruit; if effectively this is about making jam out of dried berries (with the bean/seed/pit/whatever removed) then making that clear in the question would probably make it a lot easier for people to answer. – Cascabel Feb 19 '15 at 21:34
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    Toss a few of your husks into water overnight, and see if they rehydrate. If not, try a boil then soak. That later may destroy any pectin that's left. If you can get the stuff soft, chop it into jam sized chunks, and try making jam as usual. If it won't thicken, add pectin, or a grated orange peel, for its pectin. -If hydration turns out to be a big problem, you could probably powder the intial, dry husks in a spice or coffee grinder – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 25 '15 at 14:27
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    @WayfaringStranger I think maybe you should write an answer! – Cascabel Feb 26 '15 at 6:57
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We have a coffee tree we have been growing in our sun-room for 10 years. This year after we harvested the coffee cherries and hulled the beans, I decided to try making coffee cherry jelly. I didn't find any good recipes on the internet, so I decided to "wing it" and it turned out fantastic. This is what I did: I had about 2 cups of coffee cherries. I put them in a pan and covered them with about 3 cups of water. I brought them to a boil and let them simmer for about 30 minutes, then let them cool in the water. I put a strainer over a bowl and strained off the liquid from the coffee cherries and then squeezed the cherries to get all the juice out. Throw away the squeezed out coffee cherries and keep the liquid. The liquid will be a reddish-brown and be a bit cloudy, but don't worry, it will clear up as you make the jelly. Next, I measured the liquid and had about 2-3/4 cups. I added 1/4 cup of organic lemon juice to the liquid, stirred in 1/3 cup of powdered pectin. Stir to dissolve the pectin then bring it to a full boil. Use a really large pot for this because it will rise up when at a full boil. When at a full boil stir in 5 cups of sugar, all at once. Bring back to a full, rolling boil that can not be stirred down and boil like this for one minute. Take pot off the heat and spoon the jelly into clean jelly jars. It will make about 5 small jars of jelly. Once the sugar goes in, the jelly should turn clear. Skim off any foam that might form on top before pouring into jars. Allow to cool and set. The color will be a beautiful, chestnut red and the flavor is mild, almost like honey. Enjoy!

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In India, there are typical traditional ways of Making Jam, Sauce, Candies of Fruits like Pickling, Drying, etc. In your case with Coffee Cherries, you can always try Preserving. Try the following method, Step 1: Make a 3/4 Inch Layer of Powdered Sugar in a Transparent Glass Jar Step 2: Follow it with a Layer of Coffee Cherry (Note: Coffee Cherries must be spread horizontally & not Stacked Vertically) Step 3: Repeat Steps 1 & 2 (Last Layer should always be of Sugar) Step 4: Take a Cotton Cloth & tie it on Mouth of Jar, covering Until Neck. Step 5: Expose the Jar in Sun for Few Days.

Though, the process is not Instant & very Tedious. But this slow cooking process will help to Lock the Freshness, Taste & Essentials in any Fruit in best Man-Made Way. Sugar is a Great Preservative, but White Sugar is a Silent Killer, so as an alternative one can always try Brown-Yellowish Sugar which not only is free from Chemicals, but is also a great Flavor Enhancer.

I Usually do this with Seasonal Fruits. I also add a Pinch of Salt with the Total Sugar, as this acts as a Catalyst to the whole process & also is Taste-Bud Enhancer.

  • How is this pickling? You're just adding sugar. Also the OP's fruit is already dried, I think - not sure this method will work. – Cascabel Feb 25 '15 at 15:36
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    @Jefromi: Traditionally Indians use the word 'Aathaanu' which has many meanings from Fermentation to Pickling. I found the word pickling appropriate because it is a process and in Indian Context it is not restricted to Oil & Vinegar, but is exclusive. So it also has Salt, Sugar and other such things. For Indians Pickling is Preserving. – Vikram S. Parikh Feb 25 '15 at 18:14
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    I see. In American English (and I think UK English) pickling refers very specifically to things using vinegar. Perhaps what you wrote makes sense to people in India, but I think most of the world would find it confusing. It sounds like a better translation of "aathaanu" would be simply "preserving". – Cascabel Feb 25 '15 at 20:14

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