Who makes their own jam, right? That was exactly my line of thought when I set about making a batch, and only because I had a huge haul of plums languishing in the fridge begging to be used up. Now I’m hooked. Not only is it easy as pie (actually, way easier than pie), but for me, it’s mainly because I can control the amount of sugar in it. I like my jam to taste like the fruit that it is made out of, not melted down skittles.
I had no intention of using star anise with melon here. I was reaching out for the jar of cinnamon on the shelf when I noticed the star anise sitting beside it. I admit that cinnamon would have been a more conventional choice, but the liquorice intensity of the anise works really well with the musky sweetness of the melon. Use sparingly though, too much and you are in sambuca territory.
The pinch of salt in this recipe makes a big difference and along with the lemon juice, really brings all the flavours together. I suppose that’s why the melon-feta or the melon-prosciutto combination is a such a popular classic.
This jam, due to its considerably low sugar content, or actually because of it, is perfect to use as a compote swirled into yogurt for breakfast, or I’d even use it as a topping for chilled rice pudding with some freshly scooped melon. Those are just some options off the top of my head, so I’m positive there are plenty more.
- 300 grams muskmelon, roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 3 star anise
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Add melon and sugar to a heavy bottomed pot and cook covered until the fruit has softened, about 5-6 minutes.
- Break down the fruit by pressing down with a potato masher. Add the star anise, salt, and lemon juice and continue to cook uncovered on a low flame for 10-15 minutes until the melon starts to get pulpy. Stir often, and keep an eye on it constantly as the sugar tends to stick to the bottom if left unattended.
- Check the consistency by taking a spoonful of jam and letting it drop back down into the pot. If it clings slightly to the spoon and falls in a clump, it’s done. If it looks too wet still, continue cooking for a further 5 minutes.
- Once done, scoop out the star anise and discard. Ladle the jam into a glass jar and refrigerate.
Stays well refrigerated for up to 15 days.
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