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SALT SUGAR SMOKE

SALT SUGAR SMOKE

I know it's not winter yet (not that we had a summer) and although I'm not asking for freezing weather, this book makes me long to hunker down in the kitchen, preserving and conserving. There are just so many recipes I could have chosen - my copy is littered with post-its - but in the end I went for the fragrant cheer offered by this melon, lime and ginger jam.

 

by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley, 2012)

 

Melon, Lime and Ginger Jam


It was one of my big surprises, in cooking for this book, that it was possible to make a good, fresh-tasting jam with melon. This is very unusual, both fragrant and zippy. And of course a little eastern. When I was small, one of my favourite books was a story about two Japanese dolls called Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, by Rumer Godden. The girl to whom the dolls are given tries to make them feel at home in England by building them a Japanese house and giving them every kind of Japanese comfort she can conjure. I imagine this is what she would have given them for afternoon tea, with green tea on the side, of course.

Use different kinds of melons so that you get mixed colours of flesh (though not watermelon, it's too wet). Mango works well in the mix too. 

Fills 9 x 225g (8oz) jars

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.7kg (3lb 11oz) melon, deseeded, peeled and chopped into 2cm (¾ in) cubes (prepared weight)
  • 1.2kg (2lb 12oz) granulated sugar with pectin ('jam sugar')
  • 5og (1¾oz) fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 6 limes
  • 6 knobs of preserved ginger in syrup, chopped
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) liquid pectin

METHOD

  1. Put the melon in a bowl, layering it up with half the sugar. Leave it to stand overnight.
  2. Next day, strain the sugary liquid off the melon into a preserving pan (hold on to the melon!). Bring to a boil slowly, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Now boil until the syrup is reduced by half.
  3. Tie the fresh root ginger in little muslin bag (just use a square of muslin). Put this into the preserving pan with the melon, remaining sugar, the lime zest and juice and the preserved ginger. Bring to a simmer and cook the melon for about three minutes. Stir in the pectin, whack the heat up and cook until the setting point is reached (use a thermometer and the wrinkle test to check). Remove the muslin bag and skim the surface of any scum. Pot in warm, dry sterilized jars, cover with waxed paper discs and seal. This keeps for a year; refrigerate once opened.

How to use: A dollop of ths is rather good on a tart ice cream - one made with yoghurt, buttermilk or crème fraîche - but I like it best on plain toasted bread (good stuff!), such as a nice sourdough.