Friday, July 29, 2011

Recipe 106: Watermelon Rind Crisp Sweet Pickles

The challenge: 1) cutting watermelon rind into 3/4 inch cubes. Making sure you have at least 6 cups of watermelon rind(I think I did). 3) Canning always takes longer than I plan on (or have). 4) Maybe you shouldn't can when you are preparing for a play!

The recipe: 6 cups cold water, 1/3 cup pickling salt, 6 cups peeled watermelon rind---CRAP!!!! If you've had a bad day, insert expletive here. I forgot to peel the watermelon. I have to make this recipe again. Fortunately, James likes watermelon. I don't eat it unless its too hot to move, usually. I'm really glad I asked for canning supplies for my birthday, tongs will be quite helpful next time;-).

So, I cube the watermelon and prep the bowl of cold water and pickling salt, and put the watermelon in rind and all. I placed the bowl in the fridge and let it sit overnight. The next night, I pull out the watermelon, rind on, and drain and rinse very well. I place it in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. I turned the heat down and cooked until the watermelon was fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. "Do not overcook." That's hard to do with the cubes not peeled. Its not inedible, I really hope, but I expect they'll be even better, done right. Lol...ugh.
Drain the rinds, set aside.

Next, combine the rest of the ingredients-which don't require peeling, thankfully. The 4 1/2 cups sugar, 2 cups distilled white vinegar, 2 cups water, 4 cinnamon sticks(at least 3" long), bay leaves, whole yellow mustard seeds, whole coriander seeds, allspice berries and whole cloves are placed into a large pot, and brought to a boil, then simmmered on low for 10 minutes. Add the peeled, drained watermelon rind and cook for about 1 hour or until the rind is almost completely translucent. Yes, I wondered that the outer edge was still slightly streaked with green here, but I couldn't find my problem. I even re-heated them the next morning, to see if I didn't boil them long enough.

Next, divide the watermelon rind (peeled) between two sterilized canning jars, likely a pint will work. I got 3 pints, but possibly because I didn't peel the rind. I am wondering if I should use a paring knife or a vegetable peeler to peel the next rind. James is recommending a vegetable peeler-with a straight-face even. I'm laughing at my own silliness on this one, so he could too. He must be distracted;-). So, back to dividing the watermelon rind into the canning jars, and pour enough pickling liquid to cover the rind by at least 1/4 inch. Add a cinnamon stick to each jar. Leave at least 1/2" head room at the top of the jar. Wipe the rims clean with a paper towel. Attach the lids and then the rings. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars from the hot water, using tongs or a pot holder please. If you've canned before, you know this;-). They should seal as they cool. Any jar that does not seal properly should be consumed within two weeks and stored in the fridge/ice box.

Sealed jars of watermelon pickles will keep, stored in a cool, dark place, for up to 1 year.

I still can't believe I missed the part about peeling the watermelon rind. I will update when I re-create this recipe correctly. Back at it;-).

I have to make this recipe again. I doubt I will forget to peel watermelon for this ever again. When is cooking not an adventure? I may need to go back to knitting for a bit, but I make just as many mistakes there. And I'm now addicted to canning. Just hope the deer don't eat all the tomatoes.

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