Vanilla Melon Jam On
In this household, jam is practically its own food group. We put it on toast, sugar cookies and biscuits. We add it to pork chops and eat it with cornbread. Strawberry is our favorite, peach a close second. And then I discovered a recipe for vanilla cantaloupe jam. I was intrigued. And because we happened to have a sweet cantaloupe in the fridge, I determined to make jam at 6:07 a.m. on a Thursday. Strike while the iron is hot, I always say.
The success of this recipe requires two things: a perfectly sweet cantaloupe and really good vanilla extract. Do not — never, ever — use imitation vanilla. Trust me. Your baked goods (and jams!) will thank you for it. I’m partial to Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract. It has a deep, rich flavor that makes a difference in my recipes. And speaking of recipes, you have to try this:
Vanilla Melon Jam
1 large cantaloupe (pulsed in a food processor until almost foamy), equal to four cups of fruit
4 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 package pectin (I used Certo liquid pectin)
1 Tablespoon butter
- Add fruit to a large pot. Measure sugar exactly in a separate bowl and add salt.
- Add dry ingredients to fruit and stir. Add vanilla.
- Mix pectin and lemon juice in a separate bowl.
- Add to fruit mixture with tablespoon of butter to prevent foaming.
- Stir constantly at a rolling boil for three minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
Pour jam into clean, hot jars. Wipe rims and cap with hot lids and rings.
Turn jars upside down on their tops for five minutes.
After five minutes, gently turn jars to an upright position and allow to cool on the counter for 24 hours. You should hear the ping of the jars sealing within 10-30 minutes.
Now I know that modern canning instructions say to process jam in a water bath for several minutes. Instructions didn’t always require jams to be processed, however. I use the upside down, turn and listen for the seal method. It has always worked for me and my jars always seal. The resulting jam is delicious. However, there’s certainly nothing wrong with following modern canning recommendations. In fact, it’s probably safer. Take your pick on the processing, but definitely try this unique jam recipe!
It’s delicious … you can taste the vanilla … and not only would this be a great addition to Jam Thumbprint Cookies, it would also be tasty on a pork chop!