A fun new way to enjoy a favourite fruit!
I’ve often said that I’ll pickle just about anything that isn’t nailed down (kumquats, cauliflower, strawberries and blueberries are just a few of my new favourites – you’ll find lots more pickle recipes on this website). When I was preparing my favourite hot-weather appetizer – skewers of prosciutto and melon – the other day, it occurred to me that pickling the melon first might add a delicious new dimension to this dish. I was right. I’ve since enjoyed these zesty melon balls in a salad with peppery baby greens and cucumber and I think my next experiment will be adding them to cocktails. Use whatever variety of melon you like but be sure to select melons that are ripe but still firm. As always, the beauty of quick pickles like this is that you don’t need to process the filled jars in a hot water bath – just tuck them into the fridge to store and enjoy within 2 months.
- 2 melons (I used cantaloupe and canary; honeydew would also be great)
- 3 sprigs fresh mint
- 6 thin slices fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
- Pinch red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
- 1 1/3 cups (340 mL) white sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 2/3 cup (175 mL) white vinegar
- Wash three 2 cup (500 mL) canning jars.
- Cut melons in half and scoop out seeds. With a melon baller, scoop flesh out and add them in layers (alternating between the two varieties of melon) to the canning jars. If you don’t have a melon baller, just cut the flesh into uniformly-sized cubes no bigger than 3/4 inch (2 cm) each.
- When the jars are half full, tuck a sprig of mint and two slices of ginger into each one.
- Continue adding melons to the jars until they are completely filled, pressing gently to add another few if you can.
- In a small saucepan, combine vanilla, red pepper flakes, sugar, salt, water and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.
- Once the brine has boiled, carefully pour it over the melons in the jars, filling to within 1/4 inch (.5 cm) of the top. A wide-mouth canning funnel is useful for this step. If you run a bit short on brine, just add water to top up the jars.
- Place lids on jars and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, place jars in refrigerator and let sit for 3 days before eating.
- Pickled melons will last up to 2 months in the fridge, though they will get increasingly soft over time.
Makes 3 (2 cup/500 mL) jars.