Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Candy Woman

I love a wide variety of fruits. But strangely, I don't seem to eat much of them or go through them very quickly when I have them at home.

For example, thanks to the Lady Bountiful, I ended up with two perfectly ripe (I mean dead ripe) cantaloupes in my refrigerator. And as much as I enjoy eating cantaloupe, there's no way I could get through all of that without it rotting.

But in my preservation reading earlier this year, I discovered a tempting recipe in Food Drying With an Attitude that called for tossing cantaloupe cubes with powdered sugar and ground ginger before dehydrating, resulting in a sweet, concentrated melon-flavored snack.

Okay, I thought, I'm game. I want to try that.

So late last week, I cut up one melon and followed the instructions (adding my eternal favorite, cardamom, to the mix), giving the cubes two nights in the dehydrator to get them to the appropriately leathery stage.

With my first bite, I knew I'd found a good use for BOTH melons -- this stuff is good!

I decided to take a small jar of the "candy" to the Lady Bountiful at the farmers' market on Saturday, and after she enjoyed a sample bite, Middle Son took one as well. His reaction was priceless: his sleepy, bored eyes brightened right up, a mischievous grin spread across his face, and he snatched the jar from his mother, nibbling more of the cubes.

That decided it. I definitely needed to make more!

Tonight I pulled out the other melon -- so fragrant and sweet and juicy -- and gave it the same treatment.

And I'm going to try really hard to keep some on hand for winter...

Cantaloupe Candy

Only a slight variation from the original recipe found in Food Drying With an Attitude. (By special request from Dear Reader Laura -- and the Lady Bountiful!)

1/2 c powdered sugar (I used organic cane sugar, run through the coffee mill until powdered)
1 tsp (or more, according to taste) ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into no larger than 1/2" cubes

Mix sugar and spices. Toss melon in the sugar mixture. Spread cubes on parchment-covered dehydrator trays and dry at 135 F for 24 hours or until leathery. (You could do these in the oven, too, but I don't know how long it would take. Stir often!) Store in airtight glass jar.

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 pints candy

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At 9/09/2009 1:43 PM, Blogger Phoenix said...

Apparently, one of my housemate's father just happens to have an extra dryer laying around at home. If we ever get our hands on it, I'm definitely going to try this. I love cantaloupe!

At 9/09/2009 2:05 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Then you will DEFINITELY like this, Phoenix! It's SO good! Hope you get that dryer soon...


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