One Watermelon

Watermelonc

One Watermelon

One watermelon = 2 1/2 quarts of dehydrated red flesh, 4 pints of pickled watermelon, 1 tub of peels to compost and enough dried seeds to grow another garden full of watermelon next year.

Sadly, I don’t have enough room in my garden to grow many sprawling plants, so I purchased my seedless melon. Here’s a thought: As consumers we’ve grown accustomed to seedless watermelons. No seed, no plant, no diversity. Just sayin’.

Watermelon – Dehydrated

Slice up your melon into 1 inch slices.

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Slice up the red flesh of the watermelon and place on your dehydrator at 135°. I left mine overnight – so about 12 hours. Fruit will be pliable.

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I have an Excalibur dehydrator named Guenevere.  Get it?  {chuckle}

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I sealed my melon in jars with the Food Saver Mason Jar Sealer. Isn’t it beautiful?

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Watermelon Rind – Pickled

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rinds. Slice off any meat. You want just the white part of the rind. Throw all the trimmings into the composter.

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Place the white rind (I had about 2 quarts of rind) into a bowl with 3 quarts of water. I also added about 2 cups of ice cubes. Add 3/4 cup pickling salt. Put in refrigerator overnight.

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Now comes the fun part. There are many, many recipes out there for pickled watermelon. Most either use peppercorn/mustard seeds OR cinnamon/lemon/cloves. I started with a recipe from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine pub. July/August 2010 with the peppercorn/mustard seeds.

The original recipe calls for 4 quarts of watermelon rind. Since I only had 2 quarts of watermelon rind (1 medium-sized watermelon), I halved the recipe as follows:

2 quarts watermelon rind, prepared as above
1 gallon of water
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
3 1/2 cups sugar
4 pint canning jars with lids

The first thing I like to do is to get my canning pot of water started and bring to a boil for processing. It always takes awhile to bring the water to boil so do this first! Add your pint jars to get hot. Also prepare a small saucepan of water for the lids.

Meanwhile, place rinds in a colander and drain off water, thoroughly rinsing. In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook watermelon rinds with 1 gallon of water. (I buy well water, but you can use bottled water and here’s why.) Cook the rinds until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Return the pot to heat and add vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add watermelon rinds and cook until translucent, about 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place lids in the small saucepan of hot water. Remove hot jars and spoon rind in the jars. Pour vinegar solution over rinds, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal jars with lids and rings, finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool on a clean towel on the counter overnight.

rindSweet and delicious.


Pickled Red Onions

Hey folks.  Gorgeous Saturday! I picked a few pounds of Meyer lemons this morning from the trees and while I’m waiting for them to boil (I’m making Meyer Lemon Marmalade) I want to share another recipe I found on Pinterest for pickled red onions. Sounds intriguing, right?

The best sandwich I ever had was cilantro chicken pita from a restaurant – sorry, I don’t remember the name – and it had pickled red onions on it. Boy, was it delicious. I even grabbed the menu to right down everything that was in the sandwich so I could make it at home. The pickled red onions is the key to the sweet and sour taste. The kids have been forking them right out of the jar and I have a feeling I will have to keep some in the refrigerator at all times. Perfect addition to a salad, too.

This is my test batch and I think next time I’ll use a smaller jar to store them. The spices add to the flavor. Easy to do so make up a batch and tell me what you think.

Pickled Red Onions
1 lb. red onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
dash of red pepper flakes
2 slices of fresh ginger

Thinly slice the onions. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the onions for 2 minutes, then drain. In another pot, bring to a boil the vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaf, star anise, red pepper flakes, and ginger. Let it simmer for 5 minutes, then add the cooked onions. Cook another minute or two. Remove from heat and pour into a glass jar. The pickles will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator.


Puttin’ Up Pickles

Just before adding the brine.

Tonight we put up some delicious pickles – 7 quarts of beautiful green pickles.

I couldn’t decide which recipe to use.  Everybody has a favorite recipe. We ended up following and combining a couple.
We put a grape leaf from our vines in the bottom of each jar along with garlic cloves and fresh dill.  I keep staring at the beautiful jars. In two of the jars I added a little bit of pepper flakes that I made from dried peppers from the garden for grins.
The finished product.

Do I really have to wait until Thanksgiving to try them?!

Update: Tried the pickles on Thanksgiving and they were delicious! I will definitely use this recipe again. Pickles were crisp and yummy.


Zucchini Relish

Just getting around to sharing the zucchini relish recipe we use. It’s a wonderful recipe and tastes like pickle relish so we use it on hamburgers, hotdogs, etc.  In fact, now we don’t buy pickle relish from the grocery store.

Zucchini Relish

4 to 4 1/2 lb. zucchini squash
2 medium onions
1 sweet red pepper
2 tablespoons salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cut up vegetables and grind in food chopper using course blade.  Add salt; cover and refrigerate overnight.  Rinse well in cold water and drain well.

In 4 to 5 quart kettle, combine vegetable mixture and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.  Cover and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring often.  Ladle hot mixture into hot, clean pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.  Wipe jar rim.  Adjust lid.  Process jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Start timing when water returns to a boil.

Yield: 4 to 5 pints