When life gives you a melon…

Hello lovely people. Firstly I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who sent me love and good wishes and encouragement after my last blog post and during the week. Oh there has been much homesickness this week but an emergency box from our friend which was full of English chocolate and biscuits and, of course, tea has seen us through.

I’ve been enjoying exploring the markets here. I’ve just devoureda sharon fruit from our market visit this morning. Oh the produce is so yummy. But being 500 miles further south than we used to live has had a few pitfalls. The main one has been melon! I bought a melon the other day and was so pleased with myself. “Yes,” I thought “I’ve managed to get a watermelon out of season. Finn will love me. This will keep the family going for a week.” Little did I know that my slightly distracted head didn’t read the sign saying “melon à la confiture”. Now if I’ve got my French spelling correct it means “melon for making jam”. So imagine my surprise when I cut I open later that day to discover this:

I was a little surprised to say the least. Where was the red flesh? Where was the delicious smell? Where was all the water? And why did it taste so pithy and bitter? Where was the sweetness? What was going on?! I posted a picture on a local forum asking what I’d bought. I was then told it was the melon for making jam. A couple of helpful people posted recipes of how to make the jam but they involved different melons. So I decided not to waste this fruit and I made jam! That’s what you do right? When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. Well I’d had a few lemons (metaphorically spelling) that week so I sure as hell wasn’t going to let a melon sit in my fridge and taunt me!

So I made up a recipe using my (limited) jam-making experience and just went for it. Here’s what I did:

Firstly I chopped the skin off this melon and cut up the flesh. There was no way I was de-seeding it so they stayed in as I figured it would be extra pectin (this was a guess). I then covered the massive amount of flesh (it nearly filled my preserving pan) with water and threw in some ginger, all spice and cinnamon. I let it boil for a good 30 minutes until it looked like this:

Then I picked out some of the flesh to keep for  texture. The rest I strained in my jelly bag (that makes me laugh- jelly bag! Ha ha ha!!!)

I let it strain for a few hours and then threw away the excess flesh and seeds and poured the juice back in the pan.

I added some apple purée which I had in the freezer for a bit more flavour as the melon itself seemed really bland. When it was boiling I added some more all spice, cinnamon and ginger and I added some cloves too. I couldn’t tell you how much as I did it by smell and taste. I also added some sugar which I did by taste also as we only had caster sugar. As I was worried it would rob the fruits of their natural flavour I added a little at a time and tasted as I went.

Then I let it boil and boil until it was thoroughly reduced. I sterilised the jars and heated them up and poured in the jam. It’s not set solid but the flavour is good with the fruit coming through and the spices giving a gentle kick without heat. The texture is lovely and that had been a worry with the original melon being so pithy.

So that’s my week. I’m pleased with my efforts and I’m feeling more like myself. We now have half term here so two weeks with the kids and some museum exploring to do and that blasted crochet turtle to finish. I’m determined next week I shall be blogging about that.

The kids are playing next door so I’m going to refresh my tea cup and get one with some crochet.


Josie Xxx