Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Cantaloupe Jelly

Sometimes I wonder when and how this idea took root in our culture...
Whenever any of our friends or neighbors shared any food with us, my mother would always send me back with their container and she would always send something in it. It was never returned empty. It could be anything small, like fruit, or, chocolates or cookies or even something special she had made. If there wasn't anything special she would add sugar to the container and ask me to return it.

As a child I would also eagerly wait for our containers to be returned. It was fun for me to open and see what was in it. This also gave us some exposure to different sub- cultures and their cooking style and cuisine. This was the time when we did not have computers and internet. Why, we didn’t have a color TV, back then! Without knowing what, we tasted so many different things ( as a child, the name wasn’t as important, just how it looked and tasted).

Even today, I always make sure I never return a container empty, as do most of my friends.

Coming back to this blogpost...
This draft has been languishing, unpublished for a while now, making me feel guilty of neglecting this space that I love so much!

So, here's how I made this jelly a few months ago. All, as a result of  a sweet smelling but, a totally tasteless cantaloupe.
As I was wandering down the fruit aisle in the store, I had this urge to buy a cantaloupe. I like this melon, but the boys don't, so it isn't often that I buy it. But that particular day, I wanted to.So I carefully chose the melon I wanted. It was nice and round with 'webbing' and it had the yellow patch on one side, it also gave a tiny bit when pressed- indicating it was ripe. In short, it was everything a nice, sweet cantaloupe ought to be.
Imagine the disappointment when I cut it, that it was tasteless. Well, it had the tiniest hint of sweetness, but so insignificant that, though fragrant, I could not eat any.
The only alternatives in front of me were consume, in another form or trash.
As always, food wastage is a big no-no, unless it is rancid or very stale..

I poked around a bit and and mishmashed a few recipes to suit my taste.
I decided to use my Electric Pressure Cooker (which has the same functions as the IP) and used the Slow Cook function. That way, I could set it and go out.




3 cups Cantaloupe pieces
1 1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/2 tsp Salt
1-2 tbsp Vanilla Essence ( I eyeballed this as I had little left in my bottle)

Add all the listed ingredients to the steel inner pot of the IP and mix well.
Start and set the IP on slow cook mode for 3 hours.
Close the lid and set to seal.
Open lid and stir a couple of times.
At about 2:30 hours, use an immersion blender blend the contents, be careful not to splash yourself,
After the timer beeped, I hit the Cancel button and then set the IP on Manual for about 10 mins. This helped the jelly thicken up.

Cool and store in a clean sterilized jar.
I've read that melon jellies should not be canned for risk of botulism. 
They also need to be consumed quickly. This jelly freezes well.
I needn't have worried. The jelly was very tasty and we loved it over buttered toast. I gave one bottle to my friend and her little daughter loved it too (and that, is how this post was approved!).



NOTES:

Since I had a small quantity of fruit, I did not buy or use pectin, instead I relied on the natural pectin in the fruit.
This isn't a 'firm' jelly.
The sweetness level is mild (compared to store brought jams and jellies) which suited us perfectly.


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