Ingredients: Citron melon (Citrullus lanatus), raw cane sugar, citrus peel (orange, lemon, mandarin), mandarin juice.
This unique jam is crafted from zucca cedrina (a peculiar and rare winter melon) complemented with orange and lemon peel. With an impressive 70% fruit, this jam far exceeds Italy’s “Confettura extra” standard of at least 45% fruit. Reminiscent of a mild marmalade, it has a delicate sweetness with subtle notes of melon, cucumber, and citrus, as well as a refined texture.
The zucca cedrina, also known as Citron Melon, is an heirloom melon variety dating back to 1580. Despite its rarity, the Conforti family has been cultivating and preserving zucca cedrina for generations. The fruit’s obscurity has even piqued the interest of botanists and university professors, who have reached out to sisters Giovanna and Ida to study it. Now solely dedicated to art of preserving, the Conforti sisters entrusted their precious seeds to a local farm partner to cultivate the fruit for them. Zucca cedrina is sown in spring and harvested throughout fall, before the winter freeze sets in. Upon first glance, the fruit resembles a very large elongated watermelon, with an extremely hard, green-streaked peel. Its white, compact pulp is dotted with reddish-brown seeds, similar to those of a pumpkin.
Making this unique jam is a true labor of love. First, the melon’s thick, tough skin is removed and the pulp is hand-cut into chunks. Meanwhile, organic Calabrian oranges and lemons are carefully peeled one by one, ensuring that all pith is removed to avoid any bitterness. The fruit is then cooked down for hours along with raw cane sugar and mandarin juice, before being hand-packed into jars and pasteurized. After two labor-intensive days, 100 kg of raw zucca cedrina are transformed into only about 150 jars of jam!
Use as a filling for crostata, torta sbriciolata, cakes, and cookies. Enjoy dolloped onto yogurt or olive oil gelato, or pair with bold cheeses. Giovanna also recommends trying the jam in savory-sweet applications, such as bruschetta with a slice of prosciutto.