Sweet, Sour and Spicy Pickled Melon

Summary

Serve this colorful pickle as part of a mixed fruit salad—it is great with watermelon and blueberries. For something savory, put this out as part of an antipasto platter, with a good, rich cheese such as robiola and some silky slices of prosciutto. Be sure to use melons that are ripe but not too soft, as they will soften slightly during water-bath processing.

Prep time: 30 Min
Cook time: 1 Hour
Total time: 1 Hour 30 Min


Ingredients:

2 large or 3 medium ripe but firm melons, such as cantaloupe, honeydew, or canary,
or a mix, about 6 pounds
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
¾ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
Equipment
3 sterilized 1-pint jars (not wide-mouth) and their lids
Basic water-bath canning equipment

Directions:

1.  Using a melon baller, carve out 6 cups worth of melon balls and place them in a
bowl. (Reserve the leftover melon for a fruit salad or smoothie.)

 
2.  Combine the sugar, water, vinegar, and mint in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for 1 hour. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and return it to the saucepan.

 

3. Stir in the salt and crushed red pepper and bring the brine to a boil again over medium-high heat.

 
4.  While the brine is heating, pack the melon balls into the jars, arranging them as tightly as you can without smooshing them. (Using jars with standard-size mouths rather than wide mouths will help keep the melon balls below the “shoulders” of the jars and prevent them from floating.) Funnel the hot brine into the jars, leaving ½ inch headspace and making sure the melon balls are completely submerged. Use a bubble remover or a clean chopstick to gently jostle the melon balls to help settle them.

 
5.  Screw the lids on tightly and process for 25 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place and let cure for at least 1 week before serving. The melon will keep for up to 6 months, though it will eventually lose its crisp texture. Store any jars that fail to seal properly in the refrigerator and enjoy those first.

 

For hundreds of tips on canning and preserving, check out Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti. Click here

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