Confiture de Pastèque

Water-Melon Jam

A pot of water-melon jam sitting on a sunny windowsill glows orange-red, the sliced fruit rosier than when fresh and lightened by the pale slivers of lemon peel. In late July and August water-melons are remarkably cheap, even in England, and one average-sized water-melon will make up to 4 kg (9 lb) of jam.

Ingredients

  • 4 kg(9 lb) water-melon
  • 3 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 2–2½ kg (about 4–5 lb) sugar
  • a sherry glass of rum

Method

Halve the melon and scoop the seeds and softer flesh into a sieve placed over a bowl. Press the juice and flesh through into the bowl. Cut the halves into segments and cut the ripe flesh free from the peel. Slice thinly and add to the bowl. Peel the oranges and add the thinly sliced flesh. (Discard the peel.)

Wash the lemons, quarter and slice thinly. Add to the bowl with the sugar. Stir and set the bowl aside, covered, for 24 hours.

Keep the orange and lemon pips and place in a small cloth bag for suspending in the jam as it cooks.

Next day bring the mixture slowly to the boil in a preserving pan, stirring now and again until the sugar is dissolved.

Simmer steadily for 1½–2 hours or until the jam reaches 105°C (220°F) or a tablespoon of the jam cooled on a plate forms a thin skin.

Add the rum and remove from the heat. Allow to cool for 2–3 minutes so that the fruit will be evenly distributed in the jars. Pour into hot, dry jars and cover straight away or when completely cold.

Note that this jam does not set firmly like English jams.

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