I read an article a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal about pickling excess fruit. One of our wonderful neighbors grew an abundance of cantalope this year (he credits our bees for the great harvest) and shared several nice cantalope with us.
However, one can only eat so much cantalope at a time. So we tried this recipe for pickled cantalope. Wow, was it ever … ummh … interesting. If you’ve never tasted elderflower liquer, go try a small bottle. It’s great by itself and mixes well with other drink bases.
For the basil syrup:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1 cup warm water
For the pickles:
1 small ripe cantaloupe
6 ounces St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
6 ounces gin
6 ounces lemon juice, fresh squeezed
6 ounces basil infused simple syrup
1. Make basil syrup: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water, stirring to dissolve. Transfer to an airtight container. Add basil leaves to container and seal. Refrigerate 4 hours. Remove wilted basil. Return to refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Peel and halve cantaloupe, scoop out seeds and cut into wedges.
3. Make pickling liquid: Combine elderflower liqueur, gin, lemon juice and basil syrup.
4. Place melon wedges in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Pour pickling liquid over fruit, filling container, or pressing as much air as possible out of bag. Refrigerate 24 hours before eating.