One of the great things about cooking at home is that you can make things that aren’t often sold at the store. A number of these items are delightfully delicious and they may not be food mixtures that people would ordinarily even think of, especially if most of their food comes pre-made at the store. Such is the case of cantaloupe preserves.
Cantaloupe preserves are rather like a jelly and it is used in the same way; on toast, on biscuits, to make sauces for cooking meat and so on. The preserves have the wonderful flavor of cantaloupe while retaining much of the health benefits of the fruit.
For those who don’t know how healthy cantaloupe is, this fruit is very high in vitamin C and A, while being a good source of folate, niacin, B6, potassium, and magnesium. It is low in sodium, contains no cholesterol, and has a low glycemic index.
In this recipe, use very ripe cantaloupes. Those that are a little green don’t have as much flavor, so the preserves that result wouldn’t have a lot, either. The cantaloupes should have the rind and seeds removed and the flesh should be cut into cubes.
For a diabetic version of the preserves, substitute Stevia In The Raw or similar granulated stevia product for the sugar in the recipe.
Cantaloupe preserves ingredients:
- 8 cups cubed cantaloupe
- 5 cups sugar or brown sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed is preferable)
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cantaloupe preserves instructions:
1. In a pot, combine all the ingredients and heat over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent the sugar from burning or sticking.
2. Cook for 15 -30 minutes or until the cantaloupe is soft. Cooking time will vary, depending on the size of the cubes the cantaloupe has been cut into. Mash the cantaloupe with a potato masher until it is the consistency you want it. If it is completely mashed, the preserves will be smooth like jelly.
This recipe makes about 2-3 pints of preserves, again depending on the size of the cantaloupe cubes. The smaller the cubes are, the less space there will be when they are measured out and the more preserves they will make. This is also a freezer jelly so if a lot is made and you don’t have canning jars, simply freeze the excess.
The cantaloupe preserves should thicken as they cool. They should be refrigerated or they can be canned. If they are canned, pour them into the hot, sterilized jars while the fruit mixture is still hot.
The lemon juice in this mixture helps to prevent the cantaloupe from discoloring and helps make the sweetness more noticeable.
This is an excellent recipe to keep in mind when the store runs a special on cantaloupes that are a little riper than they want to deal with. When they get that ripe, they are exactly what you are looking for, since they will be full of flavor. In fact, if they are over-ripe, no problem. Simply cut away and discard any parts that look bruised or unusable.
Cantaloupe preserves are totally wonderful. However, this is a treat that few stores carry. Making your own is the best way to do it. It is very simple to do and it doesn’t take much time.