Prep 3 hrs
Cook 28 hrs
Cantaloupe actually makes a very tasty sweet pickle that is a wonderful change from the usual cucumber pickle. My grandma used to make these every summer and she would serve these as a sweet and light dessert any time of the year. I don't know where she got the recipe but this is a great way to use up those cantaloupes from the garden!
- 3 1⁄2 lbs cantaloupes, slightly underripe (1 large or two small melons)
- pickling salt or kosher salt
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups white vinegar (5% acetic acid) or 3 cups cider vinegar (5% acetic acid)
- 1⁄3 cup minced crystallized ginger (Zaar Crystallized Ginger , Ginger Syrup & Ginger Sugar)
- cinnamon stick
- Arrange the cantaloupe chunks in a large nonreactive shallow bowl. Cover the surgaces of the fruit completely with ice cubes. Over the ice, sprinkle a thin layer of salt, enough to cover it with the coarse granules. Set the bowl aside at room temperatuer while the ice begins to melt.
- When about half of the ice has melted and the remaining ice looks very brittle and crackled, like a shattered windshield, rinse and drain the cantaloupe. (The melting time will vary depending on the heat of the kitchen. Give it about 45 minutes to an hour.).
- Return the fruit to the bowl and add the sugar, vinegar and ginger. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Weight the fruit with a plate, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, and let it stand for at least 12 hours or overnight.
- Pour the cantaloupe, syrup, and 1/2 cup of water inot a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half and the cantaloupe becomes transparent, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, wash eight half-pint canning jars that are free of any cracks or knicks and place them in a water-bath canner. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Do this about 25 minutes before the cantaloupe is done simmering. Place a tea kettle or two full of water on the stove and heat to boiling. Just before you are ready to put the cantaloupe in the jars, pour boiling water from the tea kettle over 8 canning lids to sanitize them and soften the rubber seals.
- Now ladle the cantaloupe into the prepared jars. Divide the ginger and cinnamon sticks among the jars. Pour syrup to cover the cantaloupe to within 1/2 inch of the rim of the jar (head space). Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the jar and remove any air bubbles that might have accumulated. Clean the jar rims with clean, damp paper towels to remove any syrup or food that would prevent a proper seal. Center canning lids on jars and screw on bands with your finger tips--do not make them too tight!
- Place the jars in the canner full of hot water, and make sure the jars are covered by at least 1 1/2 inches of water. You might need to top off the water with some from the heated tea kettles.
- Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, counting from the time that the water returns to a boil.
- Store the jars in a cool, dark, dry place for several weeks before opening to improve the flavor. Refrigerate after opening.