Do you have an abundance of cantaloupe?
One way to save some of that sweet goodness to enjoy during the winter is to make some melon marmalade. This recipe is an inexpensive way to preserve the summer bounty of cantaloupe. There is no pectin needed, which makes it less expensive to make than other jams. As anything worthwhile, this recipe takes some time to complete.
16 cups of cubed Cantaloupe or other orange-fleshed melon
3/4 cup of lemon juice (bottled or fresh)
4 cups of sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
7 one cup jelly jars with lids and rings
In a large pot(6 quarts or larger), place the cubed melon. Pour the sugar and lemon juice over the melon and let it sit for an hour. While the melon is sitting, collect enough jars to contain six or seven cups of the marmalade. Place the jars into a different large pot big enough to hold them and cover them with cold water.
After the hour has passed, turn the heat up to medium high and begin to cook down the cantaloupe mixture stirring continuously. After you have cooked the mixture for about forty minutes, turn on the heat under the jars. Once the jars come to a boil, reduce the heat but keep them boiling for ten minutes then turn to the lowest setting until the cantaloupe marmalade is finished. Add your lids at this time.
When the cantaloupe mixture is thickened so it looks like thick applesauce, turn off the heat. Stir into the mixture a teaspoon and a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg. If there is any foam, scrape the foam off and discard it. Place a jar funnel into a hot empty jar just removed from the pot of water. Scoop up some of the melon marmalade with a ladle and fill the jars to within a half inch of the top. Wipe the tops of the filled jars and place a lid on each one. Tighten on a ring to each jar. Replace jars back into the pot of hot water. Allow jars to cool in pot of water until they are room temperature. After they are cooled, wipe each jar and mark it with the words Marvelous Melon Marmalade and write the date on the lid as well. Put away in a dark cabinet or on a shelf away from sunlight.
Last winter I paid $10.00 for a bag of frozen blueberries. Because I did not get my kids and myself to the blueberry patch last summer, I had to pay ten dollars for berries! At the local patch where I usually pick, the blueberries are $1.10 per pound. A pound of blueberries is approximately a quart. I encourage everyone to get to your local growers this spring and summer to pick to your hearts content.
Try to harvest and preserve enough for one year. Blueberries are so easy to preserve. You pick the blueberries. You rinse the berries in cold water. You bag them in quart freezer bags and put them in the freezer.
In our area you can pick by yourself: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, cherries, and pumpkins. Explore what is available in your area and then bring in the harvest. Preserve the food and then give yourself a pat on the back for being prepared!!
Food picked fresh at a local grower whether you pick it yourself or they pick it for you is so much healthier for you. Picking food together as a family will draw your family closer together. Remind your children that we are doing this task together to be healthier, to save money, and to spend time together. Your kids may not appreciate it now, but someday they will. Proverbs 6:6-8 reads, “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.”
Now is the time of the greatest portion of the harvest. Tomatoes are ripe which can be made into stewed tomatoes, canned tomatoes, salsa, tomato sauce, and wimpie sauce. Apples are ripening which can be made into applesauce, canned apple rings, and schnitz(dried apples). Pears are ripening which can be canned in quarters, made into pear sauce or dried. Peppers can be made into pickled peppers as well as being a big part of salsa. Peppers can be frozen to be used in chili .
Break open a canning, cook book and see what looks interesting. Then go to your local grower or a farmer’s market and see what is available. The only way to find out if you are able to preserve food for the winter is to try. I taught a woman how to make salsa last year. When we were finished, she kept repeating,”I can make salsa!”
She has taken courses in college and traveled but she was still overjoyed that she could make salsa and can it for the winter. I have many rambunctious boys in my home so I hide my jars of canned food in cabinets, but many women display their hard work on a decorated shelf in the kitchen. Our usefulness to others increases our value to others and our own self-esteem. Preserve the plenty!!!