Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Cantaloupe Preserves

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.


Alanna said...

Very pretty! You may know this but a ripe cantaloupe whizzes up in a blender into a melon-only smoothie that's just wonderful.

Melinda McMillen said...

Nice to see yours turned out like mine did. I tried making this, and I thought it looked like a bunch of orange mush. But I am canning tonight....so glad I got the same results someone else did :) I'm going to try it on vanilla ice cream.....