[Lime and Ginger Melon Jam]
The truly magical thing about making your own jam is that they tell you to store the jars in a cool and dark place for a few months, to let the flavors develop fully. Oh sure, it is something of a heartbreak at first – you would so like to keep it close to you and dip the occasional finger in – but you know to be reasonable, you’ve been told to act like a grownup, so you relinquish and stash them at the back of a kitchen cabinet.
And life goes on, of course. Summer draws to a close, and fall, then winter, come and go with their own share of distractions and sweets and excitement. And all of a sudden, without a warning, spring is back! And you clean up the house! And the kitchen cabinets! And what do you find in there, all but forgotten, sitting side by side, cuddled up in the back? Your lovely lovely jars of summery jams.
And the following morning, it is with a renewed joy and high expectations that you pop open a jar of lime and ginger melon jam, and spread it generously on a big slice of bread.
Mmmmmm. So sweet and fragrant, so spicy and warm, with candied bits of ginger and lime peel, like tiny gems.
Well worth the wait.
Confiture de Melon au Gingembre et Citron Vert
– a 1 kg melon, ripe but firm
– 70 g fresh ginger
– 1 organic lime
– 150 g sugar
– 150 g crystallized sugar
(Makes two jars.)
Clean two jars thoroughly, pour boiling water on them and their lids, and leave them to dry upside down on a clean kitchen towel.
Cut the melon in halves, spoon out the seeds and strings. Using a melon baller or a spoon, scoop out the flesh in smallish pieces. Peel the ginger and cut it in small matchsticks. Clean and scrub the lime, use a microplane grater to get the zest, then cut it in two and squeeze the juice.
Put the melon pieces in a large saucepan with the ginger, lime zest, lime juice and sugar. Combine well with a wooden spoon, then cover and let rest for two hours, stirring from time to time.
Put the saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes over high heat, stirring often. Remove the melon pieces with a slotted spoon, and cook the syrup for another 5 minutes, until thickened.
Put the melon back into the syrup, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir, pour in the jars and close the jars tightly. Store in a cool dark place or the refrigerator for a few months.
(Adapted from a recipe originally published in ELLE.)
Important disclaimer! This jarring method (boiling the jars then closing them tightly and letting them cool upside down) is one that’s been commonly practiced in France for generations and generations. However, using a sterilizing machine and rubber-lidded jars is the only way to be absolutely safe. For more information on home-canning, click here.