Well, before I share with you the amazing recipe for Watermelon Rind Preserves, I must share with you the person that introduced this scrumptious recipe with me.
I first met Schere when she joined my pattern testing group. She definitely stood out among the rest, with her quick wit, immense crochet skills, and her ability to proof-read a crochet pattern & find every imaginable error (which runs supreme in the Crochet Designing World)!! I felt like I struck GOLD when I met her!! But still, she is so much more than that - she truly is a "one-of-a-kind" soul with her caring & helpful nature and most importantly, her "I Can DO" attitude!! She is definitely someone you would be HONORED to know & I truly feel she will be a friend forever!!
Watermelon Rind Preserves
1.5 quarts prepared watermelon rind
4 Tbs salt
3.5 quarts water, divided (2 quarts and 1.5 quarts)
1 Tbs ginger
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup thinly sliced lemon (about 1 medium lemon)
To prepare rind:
Trim green peel and pink flesh from thick watermelon rind. Cut rind into 1 inch pieces. (We diced ours really small. The size you cut them to is the size they will be when the preserves are finished and ready to eat.) Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water. Pour salted water over rind. let stand 5-9 hours. Drain, rinse; drain again. Cover rind with cold water and let stand 30 minutes. Drain. Add to large saucepan and sprinkle ginger over rind. Cover with water and cook until fork tender. Drain.
To prepare preserves:
Combine sugar, lemon juice, and remaining 1.5 quarts of water in a large saucepan. Boil 5 minutes. Add rind and boil until syrup thickens. Stir occasionally. (this took quite a while for us as we cooked most of the juice/syrup down to as thick as we could get it with probably a quarter of the preserves sticking out above the top of the syrup) Add sliced lemon, cook until melon rind is transparent (it was already transparent when we added the lemon since it took so long to cook the syrup down so we just cooked it another 10 minutes after adding the lemon). Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot preserves into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. (Remember to clean the top of the jar before adding the lid.) Adjust 2 piece caps. Process for 20 minutes in a water bath. Place on counter & listen for the sound of the ping as the caps seal. Leave jars on counter overnight.
Yield about 6 half-pints
You may make a double or triple batch or more with no problems since there is no pectin used.
Since there is so much water added to prepare the preserves, it took what felt like forever for us to cook the syrup down, I think that the next time we make it we will either use much less water (maybe even half as much) or I may try to add some pectin to thicken it and make a jam instead of preserves.
While we were waiting on the syrup to thicken, I was having second thoughts about how it would taste as I really thought it stank as it was boiling, though the hubby thought it smelled fine. We persevered and finished the preserves, and boy am I glad that we did. The watermelon rind preserves are wonderful and make my taste buds dance when spread on buttered toast.