This week I received a Canary Melon in my Ottawa Organics basket. I have passed the half century mark (okay, okay by more than a few years) and never even seen a Canary Melon. They look like a pretty orb of sunshine.
I made a deal with myself when I started getting my fruit and vegetable basket weekly that I would try everything that came. It’s kind of like Christmas every Wednesday when I open it. We get to customize our preferences so I don’t have to have anything that truly grosses me out (beets taste like dirt to me). But I did want to try things that I haven’t had before; so bring on the melons! We had watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew so far this summer and now this canary beauty.
So what would I do with it? It was HUGE. Almost 3 pounds. I knew that even if I liked it, I couldn’t possible eat all of it myself and since I don’t love any melon I was certain I wouldn’t be eating it all. Mr. G might have a bit but that was a lot of melon.
It had to be easy. I just wasn’t feeling this fruit and wanted to get it over with. I knew I had to cut into it because I could smell melon when I got close to it and that means it’s ripe. Plus there was this annoying fruit fly hanging around. It was time.
For some reason jam popped into my head. I can do jam. I just don’t want to can jam. When the cakelets were small I used to can lots of things. Jams, tomatoes, beans, pickles- I even made ketchup one time.
That was last century when Mr. G and I had a country style kitchen. Baskets, tins, stencilling and the old wooden slab cupboards that must have been 75 years old. The cupboards had openings in the back that let mice from the dungeon come through. We learned pretty quickly to never keep food in them and had a pantry put in in the adjacent laundry room. We still had to wash the “moused-up” tea towels, utensils and tupperware but that was easy cleanup compared to having mice get in real food. It was even easier when we remodelled the kitchen and had real cupboards with backs installed. I loved that kitchen. But I digress…
Where was I? Jam. Okay. Easy peasy. Fruit, sugar, lemon.
I figured it would be the same as strawberry jam. And no certo. No sterilized jars. No canning. This was going to be scarf-it-down-asap jam or put-it-in-the-freezer jam.
Take your melon and cut it in half. Then cut each half in 3 slices. Take your knife (I am allowed to use knives when Mr. G isn’t home) and slice off the rind. Don’t get too close to it or else you get the hard bitter stuff. Cut into 1/2 ” to 1″ pieces and place in a bowl. Isn’t it pretty?
Add the sugar and lemon juice and mix it up. Cover and leave it to macerate at least 6 hours. I left mine overnight.
What is this macerate you ask? It sounds gross and unhygienic doesn’t it? It is a verb that means (especially with reference to food) soften or become softened by soaking in a liquid.
You will be cooking the mixture in a heavy bottomed pot, adding the orange rind and letting it cool a bit before you put it in jars. Label, refrigerate or freeze. That’s it.
I found this melon to taste like a cross between a honeydew and cantaloupe. A little tarter (is that a word?) than those but very light and yummy. It’s very pale in appearance. I think this would be great in a smoothie or juiced. When you cook and add orange rind it goes a little more orangey and tastes kind of like a marmalade. Oh, and sweet. Very, very sweet.
You could use this as jam, ice cream topping, on waffles, garnish rice pudding with a dollop or even to fill the layers of your cakes. Mix it with your buttercream as a filling. Canary Melon Jam is versatile and gives you a little bit of sunshine to brighten your day.
- 3 lb. canary melon (before cutting)
- 2 c. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (about two lemons)(fresh if you can)
- 2 tbsp orange zest (about one orange)
- Take the rind off the melon and cube the flesh.
- Place in a bowl and mix in the sugar and lemon juice. Cover the bowl and leave for 6 - 8 hours or overnight.
- Stir and place in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Use a large one because this is going to boil up in volume for a while and then deflate.
- Have your heat on high and bring the fruit to a boil. Keep it boiling (you will probably have to turn it dow a bit) for about 25 -35 minutes to set* making sure you stir often to prevent boiling over and burning. Add the orange rind at about the 20 minute mark.
- Ladle into clean jars and cap. Let cool somewhat before you refrigerate. Use within 2 weeks or freeze for longer periods.
Thanks to my neighbour Louise for loaning me the pretty jam pot (I think it’s really a sugar bowl) so that I didn’t have to use the jar I am really storing it in. I passed some out to neighbours this afternoon. Go ahead- make some and spread some sunshine yourself!