Marathon Jam Session

Not the musical kind of jam session. I’m not that cool.

Jam-making session would probably be more accurate. I brought home a few fresh cantaloupes to go with the back door ones that I cut up and flash-froze. I made this vanilla cantaloupe jam using some of the imported Mexican Vanilla extract that we sell at work. I won’t be providing step-by-step pictures because I suck at taking pictures. I do not live a Pinterest-perfect life. Besides, the website where Tia found me this recipe has plenty of lovely pictures and instructions.

I’m making this jam (and some strawberry jam) to go in my Christmas gift baskets to our families. His family really gets into that sort of thing, and my family just kind of goes along with my homemade gifts these last few years. These jams are NOT for the community at large here (although there will be enough that they can certainly have some); these jams are for Christmas gifts. We will be gifting our friends some stuff too, and I paid for this fruit and these jars with my own paycheck.

side note: If it was grown here (like the blackberries), I’m more than ok with sharing. All of the vegetables we’ve grown, all of the freegan fruit I’ve brought home… All of that is fair game. But I didn’t go and order up all this fruit from my boss for people to just eat it indiscriminately. I’ll be packing up and storing a lot of the jams made this week to safeguard them for Christmas gifting.

I bought a lot of fruit for this jam. Perhaps more than I needed. There are several days worth of jam sessions happening this week. I’m making good progress, though.

vanilla cantaloupe jam

With Sunshine out of town for work, it’s the perfect time to have a marathon jam session. I don’t have him bitching about how hot it is in our house because of the stove going on high trying to boil these giant pots of jam mix and jars full of jam. However, it also means that I have no help lifting this heavy ass pot full of jars of jam and boiling water. Good thing I don’t work again until Friday morning.

Sunday night, when I got in from work with all that fruit I had the boss get for me, I immediately began cutting it up so I could get it in the fridge over in Biff’s RV.

side note: Biff is awesome about letting me encroach on his living space. I’ve got fruit in his fridge and jars of jam in his cabinet. Everybody pretty much knows which jars they better not touch (the 12 ounce cut crystal looking ones) and which ones they can take and eat (the plain old pint jars) without fear of dying a slow and painful death.

After I got the strawberries cut up, I started in on the cantaloupes. About 1/3 of the way through the second one, Mr B popped over to say hi. Apparently, Mr B is as horrified by watching me with a giant kitchen knife as I am horrified by watching him navigate the roads while also doing endless shit on his phone. He took my chef’s knife from me and proceeded to halve, slice, and chop the cantaloupes while I scooped seeds out and gathered up the chunks he was making, getting them into the storage containers they spent the night in.

side note: I think I’ve mentioned that Mr B is one hell of a cook. He cooks far more than I ever have, and therefore he’s much better at cutting shit than I am. I’ll gladly take the help, because I cut my hands/fingers at least 5 times over that long 4 day weekend at work while the boss was out of town.

Sunday night, as I finally crawled into bed at almost 1AM, my house smelled like a Bath&Bodyworks shop in the spring, with cantaloupe and strawberry scent permeating everything. I can think of much worse smells to have permeating my home LOL. The vanilla cantaloupe jam smelled rather like cake as I boiled the fruit/sugar/pectin mixture, and it was pretty close to divine. Mr B popped in and helped for a few minutes and pre-cleaned the empty jam mix pot by scraping every last bit of goo out of it with a spoon. He looked like an overgrown kid while doing it, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Making jam is sweaty work, and when one has a kitchen the size of most people’s stovetop it requires that most of the house be rearranged to facilitate jam-making. I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer to do marathon jam sessions rather than have to rearrange the entire house multiple times. It’s just less work that way.

 

final note: I have fallen into a rabbit hole on the internet. Did you know that corncob jelly is a thing? There’s also cotton candy jelly, Mountain Dew Jelly, sriracha jelly, Root Beer jelly, honeysuckle jelly, and a whole host of other interesting flavors of jams and jellies. I am thinking that Kool Aid jelly is a must try. Yes, that’s really a thing and I really want to make some purple koolaid jelly.

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13 thoughts on “Marathon Jam Session

  1. I didn’t know you coul make jam with cantaloupe! I picked 5 pounds of blueberries and I’m going to give this jam thing a shot. Do I need a pressure cooker? Cause I’m scared of those. Why do some people put paraffin wax on the top of their jam? See, now you’re the Jam Lady! Sounds kina of Jamaican..lol

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  2. I have lots of notes, directions, recipes in my “simple. intentional. life.” board on pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/cynthiawalkerwh/ there’s me

    No pressure cooker needed for fruits and tomatoes. Just add some lemon juice to be sure the acid content is high enough for water bath canning. and I guess the paraffin wax is an additional sealer?

    For blueberries, I’d mash about half of them and leave the other half whole, but that’s just me LOL. Your local big box giant should have a starter kit with all of the funnels, jar lifters, etc that you will need. I also grabbed a plastic ladle at my walmart, because you need all non-metal tools for canning. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to try and answer them

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  3. I’m with Patricia – I had no idea cantaloupe jam was a thing! I grew up canning but didn’t pick it back up until about two years ago. Last year we made a peach rhubarb jam that was amazing! We tried a blueberry apple recipe, the idea that the pectin in the apples would set the jam. It didn’t so it was a bit runny but still tasty. Keep us posted on Kool-Aid jelly and any other jams you make! I’m always looking for new ideas.

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    1. My girl Tia (who’s done some crafty guest posts on here) found the recipe on Pinterest. And I just learned that most sour fruits have more pectin, as does the skin of citrus fruits; and that cooking jam without added pectin makes it take a lot longer to cook it to a jam like consistency.

      And, yes, if I make any “weird” jams, I’ll definitely post, because who wouldn’t want to look at pictures of Kool aide jelly with edible glitter in it😎

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    1. I had never heard of it either. I was at work one day, boss tells me to make the Cantaloupes with dark spots go away. They weren’t mushy, but they would be soon in this heat. So I panic-texted her ‘please find ideas’ and she found jam, and salsa, and salads… Still waiting on the jam to set so I can try it, but Mr b cleaned the pot and said it was yummy. There’s a recipe out there for cinnamon cantaloupe jam also, which I might have to try next time😊

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      1. I’ve heard of cantaloupe lime sorbet which I bet is really good in summer time, and I bet it would be a great base for smoothies as well with a bit of yogurt mixed in (like a mango lassi except with cantaloupe)

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