What a week – and it is only Wednesday! I better pace myself, or I will not make it to the weekend, and my taste buds are counting on it. I just came back from a really quick work trip. Normally I travel very far away for work, but this time I spoke at a conference that just happened to be in the US – thank goodness. Fortunately I was able to fly back today and make to a meeting that started at 1pm. Of course, no trip can be complete without something going on at the home front. While I was on the airplane, the school nurse called my husband – this time for my older daughter. I am really hoping that next week we can go 5 entire days without a call from the school nurse.
I visited a serious food town this week, and I really was not expecting it. Nor was I expecting who I was able to meet. So Monday night I was in my hotel room studying the slides for my talk, when I got an email that one of my favorite food bloggers had posted an entry. That was exactly the excuse I needed to stop what I was doing and procrastinate just a little more. I actually wanted to email Kristy because I had a feeling she lived near where I was going – but that never happened. So, instead I wrote a comment on her blog and let her know where I was. Little did I know that she worked very close to the hotel I was staying at – so we arranged to meet for a drink. It really brought me back to elementary school when I had a Pen Pal who lived in Maine. One summer we decided to drive up and meet her family – and we were instant friends. We actually formed quite a bond with all those letters.
It was exactly the same situation, but this time we have gotten to know each other through our blogs. We have emailed each other a few times over the years – but mostly I keep up with her through her stories. When I met her, I felt like we were old friends, and that we had known each other for years. We had a terrific evening with excellent food, really getting to know each other – and piecing the holes together from our respective stories on our blogs. Even though this is not at all why I started a blog – it is really a bonus to have met such a great person.
Now what does this jam have to do with all this? Well, I made this jam at my mother’s house this summer. I love cantaloupe – and when I saw this recipe in Food in Jars, I had to give it a try. The problem is that we really don’t get great melon out here. Growing up, I would always have the most delicious melon at my grandmother’s house – so I waited until I was on the east coast to test it. This jam was out of this world. I had it for breakfast almost every morning – it seriously tasted like a creamsicle. What an incredible treat. Just like meeting Kristy. It was an unexpected treat, which is definitely the best kind.
- 3 cups chopped, peeled cantaloupe
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 (3 ounce) packet liquid pectin
Prepare a small boiling water bath canner and 3 half pint jars. Place lids in a small pan of water and set to a bare simmer.
Combine the cantaloupe, sugar, and vanilla bean pod and seeds in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 8-10minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest and pectin and return to a boil for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the bubbles look thick. Remove the vanilla bean pod and discard.
Carefully ladle jam into jars (depending on the concentration of the sugars in the fruit, it may reduce down further and leave you with just two half pints. Prepare to be surprised). Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in your small boiling water canner for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from pot. Let cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. If seals are good, store jars in a cool, dark place. If any of the jars did not seal, put those jars in the fridge and use within a month or two.
Yield: Makes 3 half-pints
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Cantaloupe Jam with Vanilla