NZ Gardener - - 2018 Gardener Of The Year -

Who would have thought? Last sum­mer I grew far more mel­ons (or at least far more rock­mel­ons) than I wanted to eat fresh, so I made some rockmelon jam.

I got this idea from Amer­i­can can­ning queen and fa­mous food­in­ blog­ger Marisa McClel­lan, who ap­pears to have in­vented can­teloupe and vanilla jam.

Ini­tially, I had my doubts if it would taste any good, but it was scrump­tious spooned straight from the jar. The key is to use very ripe mel­ons – by that I mean so juicy they are bor­der­line squishy – for rich flavour. If you try mak­ing this pre­serve with bland, hard, un­der­ripe store­bought rock­mel­ons, it sim­ply won’t taste any good.


• 2 cups peeled and cubed rockmelon • 1 tea­spoon vanilla paste, or the scraped seeds from 1 fresh vanilla pod • juice and finely grated zest of ½ lemon • 2 cups jam-set­ting sugar

Purée the rockmelon flesh in a blender or food pro­ces­sor, or mash with a potato masher un­til soft. Place in a small pot with the vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and bring it slowly to the boil over a low heat, stir­ring con­stantly to pre­vent it from stick­ing. If your rock­mel­ons weren’t very juicy, you may need to add a lit­tle wa­ter.

Add the sugar, stir­ring un­til dis­solved, then turn up the heat and boil hard for 5 min­utes. Pour into jars and seal.

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