While I might be more known to pickle everything in sight, I do tend to make a batch of jam here & there upon occasion. Jam took me quite some time to really master – somehow I was able to teach others how to do it without ever actually being successful at it myself. I know, go figure. The people that live in my house, scarred by years of bad jam, prefer to not eat the jam I make. One of them requests I purchase large tubs of just plain, grape jelly that the act of making a pb& j doesn’t use half a jar. The other has decided she’s only going to eat Daniel’s jam and when I get sneaky and reuse his jars, keeping the label and filling it with my own, she knows.
This means that when I make jam, I can make what I like to eat, in whatever quantities I like, because chances are, I’m the only one eating it.
I love fresh cantaloupe. There is no better summer breakfast than a big bowl of melon and yogurt. It’s one of those things that’s hard to put into a jar and preserve it for the winter. Or so I thought.
I came across a recipe for Cantaloupe Jam with Vanilla in the Food in Jars Cookbook. I was intrigued, but hesitant, given my history of bad jam. But I had to try it.
While it’s not exactly the same as eating a fresh melon, it did get me through last winter just fine, spread on my morning toast. I whipped up a batch this weekend, tweaking the recipe just a bit, taking the vanilla out. The secret to getting it to set is pectin – this may actually be the only jam I make that I use pectin. The yield was four 4 oz. jars – just enough to share a jar and keep the rest for myself.
1 medium sized melon, chopped & peeled.
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (3 ounce) packet of pectin
Combine cantaloupe & sugar in a non reactive pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer until the melon easily falls apart (about 10 minutes or so). Add lemon juice & pectin and return to a boil. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until thickened. Ladle into jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.