This is a jam made in Sicily with canary melon (melone giallo), named for its bright yellow rind. Inside you'll find sweet, white flesh, which looks similar to the inside of a pear and tastes like honeydew melon. Variations: You could use cantaloupe instead of canary melon. This jam also goes very well with spices. Try vanilla, ginger, star anise, or cardamom, for starters. It's rather sweet, so if you prefer something tangier, add an extra lemon, or even the zest of the lemon, to the jam. This is a wonderful jam to make crostata or jam tart with. —Emiko
600 ml or 2 1/2 cups jam
canary melon (or cantaloupe, roughly 2 pounds or 1 kg)
Cut the melon into slices and remove the seeds and skin (try not to cut too close to the skin as the flesh near here remains quite hard and crunchy). You should have about 2 pounds of fruit left. Chop the melon flesh into roughly 1-inch/2-cm cubes and combine with sugar and lemon in a bowl. Let macerate about 6 hours or overnight.
Place a saucer in the freezer to use for testing the jam setting later.
Pour the melon and all its juices into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a rapid boil and cook, on high, for about 25 minutes or until the jam is set. During this time, check it and stir it often to make sure it's not sticking or burning. If you think it is (or is close to) sticking or burning, check to see if the jam has set right away with the saucer test.
To check if jam is set, place a blob of the hot liquid jam on the cold saucer. Wait a moment for it to cool then look at it. It should be wobbly; if you tilt the plate it should slide slowly; and if you poke it, most importantly, it should wrinkle slightly. If so, it's done. If you prefer a smooth rather than a chunky jam, you can mash the fruit or blend with an immersion blender off the heat. (I did the latter.)
Remove from the heat and spoon into sterlised jars and either process the jars (boiling the closed jar and its contents for at least 10 minutes) or seal and keep refrigerated. If refrigerating (and once opened), use the jam within a couple of weeks.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.