I just want to know if I heard you correctly. Did you say melon jam?
Why yes, yes I did.
The story goes…girl loves melons…girl plants melons…lots of melons. What to do with all of these melons? We’ve grilled them (yum, by the way) dressed them (rice vinegar, raspberry and lime is our favorite) and slathered them in yogurt, now what? To tell the truth, we’ve even made them in to delicious bowls for vanilla bean ice-cream, also great, still there’s more.
The only thing to do now is save them for the winter. The way to do that? Melon Jam. Let me get this straight…
Did you say Melon Jam?
This is a variation of Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars recipe for cantaloupe jam (pg. 38-39). It came from the book, Food in Jars. I don’t have cantaloupes yet, the Charentais are the closest I grow to a traditional cantaloupe, but they’re not ready for picking yet. I do, however, have oodles and gobs of Vert Grimppant, Queen Anne’s Pockets, Jelly Melons and a smidge and smadge of Mango Melons.
I’m considering purchasing some local cantaloupe to see what the “real” flavor of this jam is, but I haven’t had the fortitude to purchase
the work…err…the melons of somebody else when I’ve so many melons of my own.
I think that the original recipe would be warmer tasting. Ours is bright, owing to the difference in the melons I feel sure. We love it, but we’re not picky for the most part. Other than my disdain for Lima Beans and Jonathan’s aversion to onions, we pretty much like anything.
So, about that recipe…
Cantaloupe Jam with Vanilla
Makes 3 (half-pint/250 ML) Jars
- 2 ½ cups chopped, peeled cantaloupe
- 1 ½ cups/300 g granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 3 ounce packet liquid pectin
- Prepare your water bath canner and jars/bands/lids.
- Combine melon, sugar, vanilla bean in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to boil, cook for 8-10 minutes
- Add lemon juice, pectin, zest. Return to a vigorous boil, stirring to avoid scorching.
- Cook for 3-4 more minutes until bubbles look “thick”
- Remove vanilla bean and discard
- Remove from heat, ladle jam into prepared jars, wipe rims with a clean cup towel, apply the lids and bands.
- Process for 10 minutes in your water bath canner
- Remove to a quiet area, free from drafts. Let stand undisturbed 24-hours.
- Remove band, check for seal. Sealed jars can be stored for up to a year. Any jar not sealed properly should be stored in the refrigerator immediately and eaten within a month.
So, how does my jam differ?
Well, my melons are green so there’s the color. More than that, the flavor is a cross between a green apple and a cantaloupe, it’s not tart, but it is well, we call it “bright” or “clean”. It’s like the difference between cherry preserves and apple butter. One is crisp and tangy the other warm and friendly. Both are delicious, they’re just different.
Here are some other things that I do different for my green version of jam. I changed the lemon to lime, juice and zest. It goes better with the green melons. I used the lemon the first time I made it, and we loved it, but the next time I made it I had limes on hand, it was serendipity.
In one jar I put a one inch stick of cinnamon stick in the bottom of the jar before adding the hot jam. We really liked this variation, but the Parsnip likes the other a little more, so I’ll probably do some of each from now on.
I’m also toying with the idea of making this with some added jalapeno next time, a play on the pepper jelly I make. I’ll let you know what becomes of that idea. Oh, and I have a friend that adds crystallized ginger or just fresh ginger to her melon jam. It sounds tasty, but I haven’t tried it myself. Ginger is one of those things I really have to be in the mood for to enjoy, and as those moments don’t come around very often, it gets forgotten around my house. I’m thinking about getting a few knobs of it and crystallizing some, so I’ll have it around when those ginger filled ideas pop in my head. I think that’s the sensible thing to do. Right?
In the meantime, I hope you have a very paisley, melon filled = ) Wednesday!