Now that cantaloupes are available, here's a fun recipe to put together and even preserve in jars to be used later in the year! The sweetness of the fruit mixed with the salt forms a perfect balance that you'll fall in love with.
- 6 cups diced, very ripe cantaloupe
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 5 tablespoons powdered pectin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Fill a water bath canner with water (if you don't have a canner, you can also use a cake rack, steaming rack, pressure cooker insert, or folded dish towel. Anything that will fit inside your pot). Place inside eight half-pint jars making sure the water covers the jars. Bring it to a boil. Place lids and rings in a small saucepan with hot water and heat but do not boil.
2. Bring cantaloupe, lemon juice, and 3 1/2 cups of sugar to a boil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Bring to a full, rolling boil that cannot be stirred down (it should take 10 to 15 minutes).
3. Once the mixture is at a full boil, whisk together the remaining sugar and the pectin. Whisk the mixture into the cantaloupe mixture.
4. Bring the mixture back to a full boil and then boil hard for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture looks thickened and is set. You can test it by putting a small amount on a spoon and placing it in the freezer for a few minutes. If it's jelly-like when it's cold, it's set! If not, boil for a few more minutes.
5. Once set, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
6. Remove the hot jars from the water bath canner and turn the canner back up onto high.
7. Ladle the jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/2 an inch headspace. Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe any extra jam from the rim of the jars, and then place on the lids and the rings, tightening just until snug, not overly tight.
8. Place the jars in a rack in the water bath canner, bring to a boil, and process for 10 minutes. Remove from the canner and let cool completely. Check seals after 24 hours--the lids shouldn't flex or move when pushed down on. Store sealed jars in a cool dark place for up to a year. Any jars that don't seal, place in the fridge and eat within a month.
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