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After freezing a ton of cantaloupe, and eating as much fresh as we dared, I also wanted to preserve some for future use in a way that didn’t require freezing. I decided to make jam–some with cinnamon and some with vanilla. I made the vanilla jam first, and my family gobbled it up!
We like it best on homemade croissants, and honestly I think I like it better warmed, but straight from the pantry isn’t bad either.
You will need:
- 6 Cups small pieces & chunks of cantaloupe
- 4 Cups sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 5 Tablespoons powdered pectin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
Cooking & Canning items:
Always pick your firmest ripest cantaloupe for jams. Put cantaloupe in a large pot, pour sugar evenly over it, and dump lemon juice on top.
I find that pre-measuring the pectin and setting it aside in a small bowl ready to use works best.
After you have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to go, move on to preparing your jars, lids and rings. (I follow the guidelines outlined in my Ball Blue Book.) Also have your water bath canner prepared.
While your jars, lids, and rings are getting ready, move back to your large pot and start your cantaloupe mixture over medium high heat. Bring it to a rolling boil while stirring constantly for 10-15 minutes. (A rolling boil is one that cannot be stirred down.) Evenly stir in your pectin, and bring back to a boil.
I stir rapidly for awhile at this point, pulling the spoon up often to test for thickness. Most canning books will tell you to do this for one minute at this stage. I have taken 20 minutes to get to the right jelling thickness.
Once your desired thickness is reached, turn off your heat source. Stir in your vanilla extract and salt until well mixed.
Using a funnel and a ladle, scoop your jam into your hot prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use your plastic stick to remove any bubbles, and carefully clean the rims with a clean cloth. Place your lid (or two piece reusable Tattler lids like I use) on the top and place your prepared ring on.
When all are prepared, use your grabber to place each jar carefully into your pre-warmed water bath and bring to a rolling boil. (Be sure to use your water bath canner according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mine calls for 2 inches of water to cover the tops of the jars.)
Process for 10 minutes plus your adjustment for altitude once you reach a boil.
Altitude Increase Processing Time
1001-3000 ft 5 minutes
3001-6000 10 minutes
6001-8000 15 minutes
8001-10000 20 minutes
For just under 6000 feet, we process ours for 20 minutes.
Once your processing time is up, carefully remove your water bath canner from the heat and allow to cool down. Then carefully remove the lid. After 20 minutes or so, use your grabber to pull the jars out of your hot water and place on a protected surface (I use a dry towel). Allow to cool over night.
In the morning, remove your rings and check for seal. Clean all of your jars and rings and allow to dry again.
Any jars not sealed should be put into the refrigerator and used in the next week.
A quick note: Only you can be responsible for the food you prepare for your family, just as only I can be responsible for the food I prepare for my family. Always follow all manufacturer’s guidelines. You are encouraged to use pH testers, and also know that substituting any ingredients affects the pH and affects the need for lemon juice and/or processing times. I am not a professional “canner” and take no responsibility for your technique. I follow guidelines outlined in the Ball Blue Book, and I encourage you to as well.