Posts Tagged syrup

Not just sticky fingers

My attempt at melon jam has to be the stickiest thing I’ve ever made.

I tried the recipe with New Jersey canning buddy earlier this year and have been waiting for the Ontario melons to roll in so I could try it again. But either we did things more efficiently last time, or I left before the cleanup, because this recipe was seriously sticky, and I keep coming across new surfaces in the kitchen and elsewhere that I didn’t wipe down yet. My fingers are still sticky underneath my wedding ring, I now discover. I mean huh?

The full recipe is listed over here, but the process goes something like this. Peel and chop a ripe, juicy melon, a sticky task at the best of times, then add sugar to compound the stickiness. Then macerate it for several hours and separate out the fruit (sticky) boil up the syrup (sticky), add fruit, more sugar and other yummy stuff (sticky), boil (sticky), add pectin (surprisingly not sticky), boil again (sticky) and splosh into jars (sticky). Spend a long, time cleaning up.


But while last time we snafued by adding one pouch of liquid pectin rather than the two the recipe called for, and ending up with syrup, this time I snafued by adding just two cubes of my home-made pectin, and it clearly needed far, far more than that to set.

I offer melon syrup, with bits. Delicious, limey, gingery, melony syrup, but syrup nonetheless, a few notches runnier than maple syrup.


  • Add to Greek yogurt for a seriously yummy desert
  • Boil it up again with another couple more cubes of pectin, and hope it sets this time
  • Use it as a syrup, probably diluted with water or even wine, to poach other fruit, infusing pears, apples, apricots or peaches with that glorious melon-lime-ginger taste

Right now I like the idea of option 3.

But I reserve the right to change my mind.

Any other ideas?


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Melon jam

cantaloupeHow can you go wrong with a mix of melon, two types of ginger and little ribbons of lime peel? And if it tastes good with imported melon from the middle of winter, just think how seriously good it will be with fresh Ontario melon later in the season.

New Jersey canning buddy and I made this one a while back, but it’s a 2-day jam, and I don’t remember if I even tasted the final version. She say it’s one to try again, but admits also distressingly runny. As she remembers it, we only used one pouch of liquid pectin, while the recipe calls for two. (We could call it melon syrup and pour it over yogurt or ice cream, perhaps).

The jam came from an intriguing book called Salt sugar smoke that NJCB got from her local library. My thanks to her for the pictures. It’s my fault that the posting is so late.

Cantaloupe jam
1 melon, peeled, seeded, chopped into 3/4 inch cubes
6 cups sugar
1/2 cup sliced fresh ginger
Zest and juice of 6 limes
6 pats preserved ginger in Syrup, chopped
2 pouches pectin

Macerate melon with half the sugar overnight.

Next day, take out the fruit, and boil the liquid up until it has reduced by half.

Add limes, melon, ginger and remaining sugar and simmer for three minutes. Then bring to a rolling boil.

Add pectin, and boil for 1 minute.

Bottle in sterilized jars.

Be ready to serve on plain Greek yogurt, because it might be far to runny to use on bread.

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Meyer lemon … syrup

I’m going to blame the internet for this one, or perhaps absent canning buddy for storing all the recipe books while we completed the Great Renovation Project I wrote about over in the other blog. But I got myself confused with two different internet recipes today, and created something that tastes lovely, but is definitely not a jam. The idea was to do something with Meyer lemons, which have hit a few of the Toronto stores, although friend and I wavered between an internet recipe that added oranges and one that added pectin. Not quite sure how the confusion started, but I think we added water for the first, sugar for the second and lemons from God only knows where, and no amount of boiling seemed able to transform the resulting concoction from watery mess to proper, well-set marmalade. The peel is floating irritatingly at the top, and the liquid is barely a syrup, although I had this vague hope that it might set a little as it cooled.

It didn’t. Clearly drastic measures were called for.

Introducing my regular lemon ginger cake, with Meyer lemon syrup drizzled over the top to add moisture and a bite.

Now I only have 4-1/2 jars of the concoction to use up.

Bizarre next day update: overnigjht the marmalade set.. Not a firm set, but definitely a set. Curious.

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Pears ‘n ginger

Access to a well-endowed pear tree does require a certain creativity, and while last week’s five-spice pear chutney is getting a medium-high rating after a far-too-early taste test, it seemed sensible to ring the changes a little rather than making the same untried recipe twice.

But the recipes for pear-ginger jam, my want-to-do recipe for this weekend, were just all over the map. There was a preserve that called for seven cups of pear and one of sugar (how is that one going to set?), and there was one calling for four cups of pears and seven of sugar, which seemed like a recipe for sugar overload to me — the pears are ripe and they are already very sweet.

So I decided to improvise.

First ingredient was a bowl of somewhat small crabapples we gleaned from a Toronto roadside tree a week or so ago. They were not really red enough (or big enough) to make crabapple jelly, but I figured I could boil them with water and use that liquid to add a little kick and a crabapple pectin set. The rest of the recipe were based on the Bernadin cook book, but the changes were beyond a tweak.

Pear ginger jam sauce
1 cup crabapple liquid (which was what remained after simmering those babies with water for 40 minutes or so and then letting them drip in a jelly bag for a couple of hours.)
5 cups pears, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of finely chopped ginger root
4 cups sugar (I think it was a little less than that in the end)

Cook pears with crabapple liquid and lemon juice for 10 minutes until they are pretty soft. Add sugar and bring to rolling boil until it sets. That took about another 10 minutes. Bottle in clean, sterilized jars. Seal and water bath for 10 minutes.

The result. Four jars of a golden jam sauce with chunks of paler pear. It’s sweet, with a strong pear taste and a definite ginger kick.

Did I ever say how much I like ginger?

But it’s also several notches notch too runny, almost a syrup rather than a jam. Maybe I didn’t boil the crabapples long enough, or let them drip all the pectin out of the pulp before I got bored and started cooking the jam. Or maybe the set I thought I got when I drizzled some onto a cool saucer wasn’t really a set at all.

Let’s call this a pear, ginger sauce, all ready for pancakes or ice cream.

Pear ginger jam sauce: 3 (out of 5). It gets five out of five for taste, loses two for being a sauce rather than a jam.

Pear five-spice chutney: 3-1/2 (out of five). Points for taste, color and texture, but this one is a couple of notches too sweet.

Anyone want a jar of pear ginger syrup/sauce?

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More rhubarb

After the success with the rosemary, I went for something a little more classic this week with four jars of rose-red rhubarb ginger jam. Judging by the leftovers, which is all we’ve tasted to date, this sucker has kick. Maybe the five cubes of frozen chopped up ginger was overdoing things a little.

But thanks to other bloggers, I may have found a workaround to the too-cool-to-boil problems caused by the new ceramic flat-top stove, which switches off before a jam reaches that full rolling boil. Boil up a syrup first, then add the fruit. Will try it with strawberry rhubarb next.

But before then I’ve been promised a knock-your-socks off recipe for a rhubarb chutney, which has got to come pretty close to perfection. I’m told it goes stunningly well with sheep’s cheese.

Watch this space.

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