Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Cantaloupe Preserves with Cinnamon: Jam Exchange

What's that you say?  You didn't know you could make jam out of a cantaloupe.  Neither did I... that is, until I saw this recipe in one of my canning books. Too bad I didn't find this recipe when we canned melons for the Tigress Can Jam.

Not to worry ...

I'm participating in Steph Chows’ 2nd Annual Jam Exchange so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to make some.  I just hope my Jam Exchange Partner is as excited about receiving these preserves as I was making them.

Cantaloupes belong to the subspecies -- C. melo reticulatus (also know as C. melo melo var. reticulatus) and C melo Cantalupensis.  These juicy fruits make thick, but not firmly gelled, jams and they keep their flavor and aroma even after long cooking times.

Here's how you make these unique preserves:

Cantaloupe Preserves with Cinnamon
Makes: 2 Pints
The recipe is from The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich

The combination of flavors works surprisingly well in these preserves.  Like the recipe author, I wasn't too sure about the cinnamon in this recipe, but it definitely brings out the flavor of the cantaloupe.

2 pounds peeled and seeded cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch square pieces
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons strained lemon juice


In a preserving pan, layer the cantaloupe pieces and sugar.

Bury the cinnamon stick in the mixture and pour the lemon juice over the top.  Now you see it.

Now you don't.

Cover the pan and let it rest for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature, until most of the sugar has dissolved.  I let the mixture sit for twelve hours overnight.

I got up early the next morning before work to do this next stage.  Over very low heat, dissolve the remaining sugar, stirring gently and occasionally.

Simmer the contents until the cantaloupe pieces are partially translucent, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon.

Bring the syrup to a boil and let it boil until it reaches the thread stage or 230 degrees F.  I used a thermometer and I also performed the thread test.  I just couldn't seem to take a photo and do the thread test at the same time.

Remove the pan from the heat, return the fruit to the syrup, and cover the pan with a towel.

Let the preserves stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.  I let the preserves stand at room temperature for 12 hours.

That evening, I finished the process.  Bring  the preserves to a boil.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the pan and let the preserves cool for 5 minutes.

Give them a stir and then ladle them into pint or half pint mason jars.

Add lids and rings.

Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  If you live in a higher altitude or need more detailed instructions on water-bath canning, please refer to the instructions at the National Center for Home Preservation.

These cantaloupe preserves go really well with pound cake or vanilla ice cream.  Or both! 

I dressed up a jar of these Cantaloupe Preserves and shipped them to my Jam Exchange Partner.  I hope she likes them.  Just in case, I also sent some Cherry Preserves and some Peach Lavender Jam.

Happy Canning and Baking!

Here are some of the references I use in my canning adventures. You might enjoy them as well:

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