This past spring I received a free packet of vine peach (aka mango melon) seeds in my fruit and vegetable seed order. I had never heard of a vine peach but summarized from its name that it was a vine type plant and produced some sort of fruit. Therefore, I chose to plant it next to our cantaloupe and watermelon vines and waited to see what happened. The vines grew heartily and produced these wonderful peach fuzz covered, softball sized, fruits that taste similar to an unsweetened, mild honeydew melon.
After a bit of research, it turns out vine peaches are a drought tolerant, annual, heirloom fruit introduced to the early American settlers by the Native Americans. According to the internet they taste similar to a mango, hence their pseudonym, mango melon. However, as mentioned above, my taste buds convey they are more inline with an unsweetened honeydew melon. Our family likes them raw, but according to my research it is said the flavor excels when canned in preserves, conserves, pickles or cooked in pies. I can say from personal experimentation, when combined with cantaloupe and made into a jam, they are super stars.
We also harvested a bumper crop of cantaloupe this year. Prompting me to turn to the internet and my vintage canning recipe books to figure out what to do with an abundant harvest of vine peaches and cantaloupe. I decided to experiment and took a little of this and a little of that from various recipes and ended up with (drum roll) ...
TA DA! Melon Jam!
This jam is a huge hit with my family. If you find yourself harvesting more vine peaches and / or cantaloupe than you can, or want, to eat, try my recipe.
Mrs.B's Melon Jam
(recipe may be halved)
10 c. pureed cantaloupe OR 3 c. pureed vine peach & 7 c. pureed cantaloupe
4 c. pureed apricots
2 20 oz. cans crushed pineapple
2 oranges, zest and juice
12 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Combine all ingredients in a LARGE stock pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
2. Reduce heat to a hard simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 hours until mixture is thickened and reduced by 1/3.
3. Ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jelly jars, affixing bands and lids as you go.
4. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
Makes about 20 1/2 pints.
Note: Dehydrated apricots need to be re-hydrated prior to pureeing and measuring, add about 1/3 of the re-hydrating liquid when pureeing. If using canned apricots, use all the canned liquid when pureeing. Fresh apricots will not require any additional liquid during the pureeing process.