Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Curiouser and curiouser: Cantaloupe Butter

I am not sure why, but for the past couple of days I have been consumed with the desire to make jam, or jelly, or some sort of preserves. Oh sure, there are recipes for strawberry, raspberry, and *blank*berry jams a plenty, but I wanted to try something new, something I would never have thought of on my own. After having made (and loved) the strawberry preserves with black pepper and balsamic vingar posted by Leah at SpicySaltySweet, I've only experienced an even greater desire to try preserves that are, shall we say, a bit beyond the standard fare. Wonderful though a basic blackberry jam is, sometimes you just gotta try something a little new and unexpected.

Whilst scouring the tubes for an interesting recipe, I happened upon a plain looking and unassuming collection of jam recipes, called simply Jam Recipes. "Well, at least it's concise," I thought, as I started to explore what they had to offer. Recipes included various apricot jams, marmalades (including a carrot marmalade? I'm going to have to try that out sometime.), banana jam, and apple jams infused with flavors from ginger to thyme (ooh, that's another one for the books), and many more interesting recipes, many of which hail from our friends in the UK. The one recipe that really caught my eye, though, was the cantaloupe butter.

The recipe is simple and consists of a mere four ingredients: Cantaloupe, Sugar, Lemon juice (or in my case, lime juice), and Cinnamon. The butter certainly tastes of cantaloupe, but also has a surprising caramelized pumpkininess to it. It's actually quite autumnal in flavor. Excitingly unexpected. Did I mention that it also wonderfully compliments my Murcia al Vino cheese? Also excitingly unexpected! ^_^

I had thought about making and preserving more butter, but was unsure of cantaloupe's preservability. Thus I consulted my Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving, and as it turns out cantaloupe is not acidic enough to safely preserve without the use of a pressure canner, a piece of equipment I don't really want to invest in. While the average cantaloupe has a pH of 6.17 - 7.13, the USDA does not recommend the use of hot water canning for foods with a pH greater than 4.6 (carrots, pumpkin, melon, okra, corn, asparagus, etc), unless you're pickling them in a brine solution. Therefor, my cantaloupe butter gets to live in the fridge. ^_^

Cantaloupe Butter

1 Cantaloupe Melon
Lemon juice

1. Remove the rind and the seeds from the melon, then dice the fruit.

2. Place in a pan with enough water to cover the bottom and prevent burning (about 1/4 cup), and cook until the melon is soft and pulpy.

3. Pass the cooked mix through a sieve or, like me, just purée it with a stick blender until smooth.

4. For every 2 cups of purée, add:
-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
-1 cup of sugar

5. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce heat to low, stirring frequently to make sure the sugar is dissolved and the mix does not burn.

6. Simmer for 25 minutes or until the mix sets when tested. It took me about 40 minutes until I liked the consistency.

7. Pour into clean jars and let cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.

When I finished, I ended up with a bit less than a pint of cantaloupe butter, so I suppose you can figure about one pint per large cantaloupe.


Anonymous said...

Tom, that looks and sounds absolutely fabulous!! I made cantaloupe ice pops last year and they were so good. I may have to give this a try.
Patti (T) from BakeSpace

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! That cantaloupe butter looks AMAZING!