I can’t think of anything that tastes more like summer than watermelon (except maybe Sunflower jelly). It’s refreshing, delicious and a great snack. Of course, you can have too much of anything, can’t you? I do this summer.
I was excited when I picked my first ripe watermelon. It was the first time I had successfully grown watermelon. I tried once before but they never seemed to be ripe. Cutting open that watermelon and seeing the juicy red inside was exciting.
I started eating, and eating, but there was still watermelon.
Not wanting it to go to waste, it was time to find something to do with it. I remembered flipping through my book of canning recipes before and seeing something with watermelon. After looking again, I found watermelon jelly, but it was made from the white rind of the watermelon. I still needed to find something to do with the rest.
A little more searching led me to find a watermelon jelly recipe that uses the fruit of the watermelon. That sounded like it would taste better too.
So I gathered the ingredients and created some jelly. It was tasty, but needed a few adjustments from the original recipe. I reduced the sugar a bit so it wasn’t so sweet, and left the pulp part of the watermelon in rather than straining the juice so I created a watermelon jam.
It was an easy process. You begin by chopping up the watermelon and removing all of the black seeds. (The recipe said you didn’t have to remove the white seeds, but I still took out as many as I could.). Then puree the watermelon in a food processor and measure out 2 cups of puree. Combine that with a box of pectin and a quarter cup of bottled lemon juice.
Bring that to a boil for a minute, then add 3 cups of sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minutes and process it in a boiling water bath for 12 minutes. It is not only delicious, but also pretty to look at. My shelves of canned goods are getting much more colorful this year with the watermelon jelly and sunflower jelly.
Until next time, happy garden-fresh eating!
Julie Clements is a Butler County Master Gardener.
Share your ideas for garden-fresh recipes or ways to preserve at firstname.lastname@example.org and some will be featured in upcoming columns.