Crenshaw you say...what's that? Only THE juiciest, creamiest most flavorful melon you'll ever sink your taste buds into, that is what!
Spending several years apprenticing on organic farms had exposed me to a wide variety of various delicious fruits and vegetables. None however, save for the golden russet apple (more to come on this later in the season), blew my mind more than the Crenshaw melon. I tended to like cantaloupe and musk melon but never thought it was AMAZING. Crenshaws are AMAZING.
Vanilla cream, apricots, hints of lime this melon nothing measures up. It is most perfect when plucked straight from the field, sliced and eaten right there in the melon patch with just your harvest knife and late golden summer sun shining down on you.
If you'd like to find seed I've only ever ordered it from Johnny's online. It is a hybrid but it's so gosh darn delicious, I don't care! I insist, order your seed for spring ASAP!
Now, back to the recipe.
The inspiration for this jam came paging through Paul Virant's Preservation Kitchen. I came across his melon jam recipe using vanilla bean and honey. For me, the Crenshaw already had the vanilla going for it and I really wanted to add some briny and enhance the lime flavors. Thus, I ousted the vanilla and lemon for ginger, cloves, cinnamon, lime and lime zest. Virant's recipe also left the melon in chunks while I opted for a smoother texture and food milled the jam about 10 minutes before I set it in jars to process.
So here you be folks, Crenshaw Melon Jam with Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves and LIme. If I did night shades I would totally throw in some spicy dried chiles to really take this jam up a notch!
Crenshaw Melon Jam with Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves and Lime
(adapted from Paul VIrant's Preservation Kitchen)
16 cups of Crenshaw Melon, peeled, seeded and diced into 1" cubes
2/3 c. of honey
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
zest & juice of 2 limes
Simmer the melon and honey in a large pan for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat and transfer to another container and set in the fridge for 2 days covered.
After 2 days, remove from fridge and return to a shallow, but large enough pan to hold the melon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and add the ginger, along with the cloves and cinnamon tied in cheese cloth so it is easy to remove from jam when you run it through the food mill. Return to medium high, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the cheese cloth satchet and puree the melon through a food mill. Return to the pan along with the lime zest and remaining juice of one lime. Bring the jam back to a boil over medium high heat and stir frequently until the melon puree has reached a jam like consistency.
When the jam is to your desired consistency remove the pan from the heat and immedietly pour into hot, clean jars and seal immediately. Place in a hot water bath according to your general jam processing protocol. Virant says the jam is shelf stable but I'm not so sure and set mine in the fridge. Store according to your comfort level.