I’ve written before about how our garden has been overrun by four previously innocent-looking cantaloupe plants. For the past few weeks, I have been checking them for ripeness or something resembling a cantaloupe, but I haven’t noticed any of the webbing that appears on the cantaloupes I’ve seen in the grocery store.
Apparently we have a different kind of cantaloupe because as I was walking over to the garden this morning, it smelled like rotting, overripe fruit. On close inspection, I realized that the smell was rotting, overripe fruit. The cantaloupes were so ripe, some of them were splitting open. Just to be sure they were ready, I picked one small one, and Julia and I ate the entire delicious thing! We then spent some time choosing which ones to pick and ended up harvesting ten cantaloupes. We left about ten more in the garden because they are still green, but I’ll be keeping my eye on them to make sure they don’t get overripe this time.
We reached that perfect moment of the day when both kids were napping, so I decided to make a small batch of cantaloupe jam from the Food in Jars cookbook. I’ve been raving about this book in so many posts, so suffice it to say, I LOVE THIS BOOK! It only used one of the melons, so I’ll have to figure out what to do with the rest (sorbet! smoothies! more jam!). I love that this was a small batch so I didn’t have to get out my heavy canning pot and spend lots of time chopping and stirring. From start to finish, the entire process took only one hour.
Cantaloupe Jam with Vanilla
From Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, 2012, page 38.
- 2 1/2 cups chopped peeled cantaloupe
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- zest of 1 lemon
- t tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 packet liquid pectin
- Prepare a boiling water bath and 3 half-pint jars. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.
- Combine the cantaloupe, sugar, and vanilla bean pod and seeds in a nonreactive pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and the pectin. Return to a vigorous boil. Cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the bubbles look thick. Remove the vanilla bean pod and discard.
- Remove the pot from the heat and ladle the jam into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
This turned out great, the texture is not too syrupy or too thick, and the flavor is really different. If I was asked to identify the flavor, I wouldn’t guess cantaloupe. The cookbook says it tastes like Creamsicle, but that’s not how mine turned out. Maybe it tastes like pumpkin? Hey! Maybe these aren’t cantaloupes, and I grew pumpkins in my yard!
This post was shared on Little House in the Suburbs DIY Linky #15. Check out their blog for some wonderful DIY ideas!