Friday, July 16, 2010

Cucurbits - what???

This months can jam was a challenge and a joy.  I LOVE pickles - you know the "real" ones made from cucumbers so when I saw the theme was cucurbits I was ecstatic.  Boy did I have a lot to learn.  I had no idea that cucurbits included not only cucumbers but squash and melon as well.  Well this opened new doors to me.  I started the search for the perfect can jam item.  Did I find it?  Well, Woodman can answer that.  I have often wanted to try Watermelon Rind Pickles.  There is something about making use of something I am just going to throw away that really appeals to me.  We had a watermelon on hand, the girls love them and eat tons this time of year, so guess what we had for dessert?  Of course the girls thought I was a little nuts when I wouldn't let them throw the garbage away.  I got my recipe from one of my favorite standbys.  At first glance, it seems a little intimidating and time consuming.  In reality much of the time is just sitting so it was perfect.  Do this, let it sit 4 hours, do this let it sit overnight and then in the morning boil and can.  How much easier can you get?  Verdict - Woodman says "I like them, they are good" my verdict - ok technically my favorite part is the lemon rind which isn't exactly our theme but I like the rind too.  This is definitely a new favorite.

Here is the recipe

Pickled Watermelon Rind from The New Preserves - Anne Nelson

1lb watermelon rind
1/4 cup salt
4 cups water
5 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar
2 cups water
1 lemon, sliced thinly
12 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 pint jars

1. Peel the dark gree skin and pink fruit from the watermelon rind, and cut it into 1 inch squares or 2 inch by 1/2 inch sticks.  Mix the salt and water in a bowl, add the rind and the ice and refrigerate 4 hours.
2. Drain and rinse the rind under running water, then place in a medium saucepan and cover with warm water.  Cook until the rind can be pierced with a fork but no longer.  Drain then toss in a bowl with the lemon slices.
3. Combine the sugar, vinegar, water and spices in a saucepan.  Boil 5 minutes then pour the syrup over the rind and lemon and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.
4. In a large saucepan slowly bring the mix to a boil.  Cook over low heat for an hour.
5. Prepare jars and hot water bath.
6. Pack the rind, lemon, and cinnamon sticks into the jars and pour the liquid over them, filling each to 1/2 inch from the top.
7. Process for 10 minutes.
8. You may eat the pickles within the first week.

These are very good.  Of course since I feel like cucumbers are the only real pickles, I had to make those too.  I have a 2 gallon jar fermenting on my counter right now!  I'll post about that later.

Cali thinks canning is hard work.

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