Wednesday, August 26, 2009
One of our current favorites is cantaloupe - particularly the "Tuscan Cantaloupes." Holy magnificent melons batman, those babies are fruit of the gods if ever there were such a thing. The melons we've been getting are so sweet and juicy, it's ridiculous. Neither of us can remember cantaloupes being this good for a long time.
So the other day, as we sat at our dining room table with melon juice down to our elbows, we were singing the praises of the 'Loupe and I said I wished there were a way we could get melon this good year-round (while abiding by our pledge to eat in-season produce, most of which is locally grown, of course).
Perhaps the heat had gotten to my brain, but it really did take me a while to remember that I already know all sorts of ways of preserve the harvest! Freezing, dehydrating, liqueurs, syrups, canning ... I can do it all. So I pulled out one of my favorite canning books, Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda J. Amendt, and much to my sticky-fingered delight, found a recipe for cantaloupe jam. Neither of us had ever heard of melon jam before, and since I had yet to start canning this year, I decided this recipe would be my first of the season.
I just pulled 7 half-pint jars of the most delicious jam I've ever made from my canner and practically danced around my kitchen as I heard each of them ping (a sign they've made a proper seal and all is well).
So I'm happy to report that we've got some seriously kick-ass jam to carry us through the cold winter. Um, and by "cold" I mean less than 70 degrees ... this is San Diego, after all. I'm even happier to report that I still have plenty of melons left over so I can put up a whole other batch (or three) of jam if I want. Actually, that's probably a good idea because the likelihood of these seven jars remaining untouched 'til winter arrives is nil. And finally, I'm happiest to report that canning season has officially begun! I've got all sorts of wicked canning fun planned. In fact, just yesterday I scored some killer green tomatoes so I can put up some Green Tomato Mincemeat Pie Filling, which not only tastes awesome but I think will make for great holiday gifts.
That it's for now. I think I need an afternoon snack. Perhaps toast with ... oh, I don't know ... jam?