Tuesday, July 3, 2007
I found this recipe on 18th Century Cuisine, and was immediately intrigued. I LOVE cantaloupe. And I love preserves. So I had to try it.
I mentioned it to a few people (the ones that let me experiment on them). The Professor was more than a little dubious when I told him what I had planned for the cantaloupe. But as with most things I do in the kitchen, he's learned to keep his mouth (mostly) shut until it's time to shovel in whatever I've created lately. The Best Friend laughed uproariously at me. She still has a tendency to snort a little whenever the word "cantaloupe" is mentioned. I forgive her because I have to.
I didn't have four pounds of cantaloupe, though - only half of a leftover one that was ripe enough that I probably could have reduced it to a puddle of syrup with a really strong breath. Realizing the hygienic complications of that method, I decided to use my potato masher to make a kind of cantaloupe-pulp that was nice and liquidy. I added about a cup of sugar and transferred this to a saucepan and stirred it for about 30 seconds so the sugar would start dissolving. I added a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice, and then turned the heat on medium low, stirring constantly, but slowly. When it was just starting to simmer, I turned the heat on low and let it kind of half-simmer for about thirty minutes, stirring it every now and then. The recipe above says it'll turn clear - and it really does change in transparency, although clear might be pushing the exaggeration a bit far. After thirty minutes or so, I poured the mess into a couple of small glass jars and stuck it in the fridge. The next morning, I took it out and smeared it on some whole-grain bread. And a new breakfast was born.
The Professor's Quote: "Well, it tastes like preserves. Very sweet preserves."
(I gave a sample to a friend of mine, and he told me one of his favorite ways to use it - and he tried it on just about anything that came his way - was to dip some cold shrimp in it. I'm not sure how his mind made the jump from preserves to shrimp, but we won't ask that question today.