The watermelon makes another appearance

So, remember the other day when I made these Watermelon Rind Pickles? I ended up with way too much watermelon for just the two of us, so I needed a way to use some of it up. After searching around the web I made another discovery. It turns out you can make pickles from the pink part too!

I found this recipe and this recipe, and kinda mixed the two together. Spicy watermelon? Had to try it.

Aren’t they beautiful? Just looking at them is good enough for me. They contain watermelon, pickle juice, garlic, hot pepper, bell pepper, dill heads, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

I did try them, and boy, are they spicy. I’m pretty much a weakling when it comes to spices though. I got a mixed reaction from others trying them. Many liked the taste, but not the texture. They don’t really retain very much of the watermelon taste. However, my spicy-food-loving-friends all seemed to enjoy them.

Will I make these again? Possibly. They are just so darn pretty.

Watermelon Rind Pickles – Who Knew?

The internet is a wonderful thing. At times when I should be doing laundry or washing dishes, I can look up all sorts of yummy, delicious recipes. Thus, that is what I was doing this past weekend when I happened upon a recipe for watermelon rind pickles. Wh-what? I did a search and found many more recipes for this alien pickle. You can eat the rind? People WANT to eat the rind? Well, immediately I knew I had to try it.

So, this past weekend on a trip to Aldi’s I included one huge watermelon for only $2.99. I forgot how huge watermelons are. I set to work cutting it up and processing the various parts – some to eat plain, some I put in a blender and froze as ice cubes for future smoothies or cocktails, some were made into popsicles, and the rind was cut into chunks…maybe 1/4″. The recipes all said for 1″, but what can you do with that? I’m thinking this might be good on sandwiches or desserts or something. Well, at least I think that is what I am going to do.

Something is wrong with this picture.

It took a long while to cut it up. It was made even longer after cutting it all up and realizing I forgot to peel it before cutting it up, so after soaking in brine I carefully sliced off the green peel from EVERY SINGLE PIECE. Boy, did that take a long time.

Following the brine it was time for the syrup making and processing. It was supposed to make about five half pints, but I got two. I’m blaming it on the relish-like quality.

Not the prettiest in jars, but everyone who has had these say they are totally awesome. I’m a wee bit weary, but again, here’s to trying new things!

Adapted from a Food.com recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs watermelon rind
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cupswater
  • 4 cupssugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoonwhole cloves
  • 1 teaspoonsliced, fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  1. Cut up melon rind, peel off the green part, and remove all pink portions.
  2. Cut rind into 1 inch pieces for pickles, smaller for relish.
  3. Weigh
  4. Soak rind overnight in enough bring to cover all pieces, made by dissolving 1/4 cup salt in each quart of water
  5. Drain rind, wash in fresh water and drain again.
  6. Combine remaining ingredients, with the spices in cheesecloth, and boil together 5 minutes.
  7. Add rind a few at a time so it doesn’t spash and cook until rind is clear.(simmer about 30 Min.). Meanwhile, prepare jars.
  8. Remove cheesecloth and put in bottom of prepared jars evenly.
  9. Pack rind on top of spices in hot sterilized jars.
  10. Cover with boiling syrup, remove air pockets, and process in a hot water bath for ten minutes.

I’ve also discovered recipes for the pink part along the way, so I might have to try that next. Again, I haven’t opened these yet. I think I’m going to wait a few weeks and then give it a go.

Happy 4th!

This 4th of July was a much needed break. Spending time with friends and family while cooking and spending time on the Ponderosa is always a good time, but it really felt good this weekend.

When I arrived back home, mom and I did a quick trip to a tag sale. I finally found some canning jars! The whole shopping trip was 18 quart jars, two half quart jars, a full sheet new in the packaging, a vintage 50’s hat, two necklaces, and a set of six vintage ice cream bowls for $3. Score!

Sunday mom and I went out to our berry patches to pick some red raspberries and black raspberries.

Not too many red ones, but we got four pints of black ones! Well, four until I tipped mine and it landed in a big ole patch of poison ivy. I almost broke out in tears, I was so sad to see them all go to waste.

We had our get together Sunday too. I made my Confetti Potato Salad and this REALLY cool cake I found over at Glorious Treats.

 

 

 

Isn’t it so adorable? It was really easy to make too. My pans were 9″ instead of 8″, but I like the longer blue part anyways. Everyone was so impressed, and I thought it photographed really well. To decorate I got the pinwheel in the floral department at the grocery store and I made the two stars with red wrapping paper, star cookie cutter, glue and a bamboo skewer.

Now I just need to decide how to use all those yummy black raspberries. Jam? Syrup for pancakes? Infused vodka? Frozen yogurt? Only time will tell!

Marmalade Recipe

So, remember that yummy Pineapple Lime Marmalade I made? (It really is yummy – like sunshine in a jar!) Well, here’s the adapted recipe. I apologize to the lady who wrote the one I adapted it from. Can’t for the life of me find it now.

Ingredients:

  • 3  cups lime segments and juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple in small pieces
  • zest from all your citrus fruit
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 (3 ounce) envelope liquid pectin
Directions:
  1. Thoroughly wash all your citrus fruit and remove the zest with a vegetable peeler. Scrape as much of the pith as possible from each strip of peel with a very sharp knife and slice the zest into very small, thin pieces. This takes a long time. Put a movie in and get slicing!
  2. Place the prepared zest, water and baking soda in a nonreactive pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let it sit overnight.
  3. In the meantime segment your zested citrus fruit by slicing off the ends of each fruit, standing it up on a cutting board and slicing off the white stuff (really technical terms here). Then cut each fruit in half and cut between the membranes to free the segments. Place the segments in a 4-cup measuring cup and keep going until you have accumulated 3 cups of segments and juice. Add your pineapple pieces to make 3 1/2 cups total fruit.
  4. Next day – Return zest to boil. Add the fruit and 1 cup of the sugar into the peel mixture. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the remaining 5 cups of sugar and and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Quickly stir in the pectin and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir constantly for 6-8 minutes to evenly distribute the zest throughout the marmalade.
  8. Ladle quickly into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.
  9. Let jars sit for 2 weeks before you taste to let the marmalade mature, kinda like wine. Heck, drink some wine while you are waiting.

I’m thinking this would be great over some cream cheese spread on a cracker, or I’m hoping to try soon to make some thumbprint cookies and roll them in coconut and then use this in the middle. I think that would be heavenly!

Slightly Green Thumb

Munchkin and I planted a lot of our garden last night. I  figured since it was to be in the 80s for  the rest of the week, we’d be okay with the frost date. Well, I planted and he dug up worms and made a collection of helicopter seeds. What did we plant? Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, rosemary, cilantro, beans, zucchini, basil, lettuce (planted a few weeks ago), peppers, hot peppers, carrots, eggplant. I still need to get in the flowers and the cucumber. I just love to see the progress the plants make every day, and it pains me to see it grow and have to wait for its yummy deliciousness.

I planted a ton this year because I have been slightly obsessed with the idea of canning, so I am hoping to capture some of that yummy goodness in the form of pickles, salsa, tomato sauce, jams, jellies, in addition to the usual muffins. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

Happy Mother’s Day – You better like it!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there, especially mine! She’s pretty alright, I guess. 🙂

Mother’s Day was lovely. CBear took me out to breakfast at Bob Evans (a favorite!) on Saturday and put up with my super grumpiness due to being over worked, over stressed, tired, and not being able to breathe due to stupid allergies. Honeysuckle and I just don’t get along.

Sunday I went home. Both mom and my sister were sick with a cold, Munchkin had a tummy bug, so between allergies and colds and bugs, we were quite the bunch! But, this morning we went out to eat at Preto’s and stopped at a few tag sales where I found some new hammered aluminum and had quite a few fun conversations with the other treasure hunters. I even got to run out in the glorious, wonderful sunshine that finally has made an appearance this spring. Beautiful!

When we arrived back home, I was discussing canning blogs (How much do I love Food in a Jar!!) with my mom when she said she saw a recipe for violet jelly, and wanted to try it. So, I thought, I’ll go pick the flowers, and mom will love it!

So I headed outside and carefully picked these beautiful little purple flowers that were all over the yard. Did I mention they were little? As in super tiny? And I needed two cups!!! I finally got about a cup and went inside after about an hour of picking. We could just make half a batch.

Super tiny, super hard to pick, little purple flowers.

Mom loved it, right? Wrong. Mom did NOT want to make the jelly. She just thought it looked interesting, so suggested I make it instead. Me, who has never canned anything EVER. Blergh. I agreed to maybe. Then, a few minutes later I hear lots of talk about the flowers. Turns out my idea of little purple flowers and other people’s idea are two totally different flowers, and I had not picked violets, but some other type of flora. Doh!

So, back out I went, this time with both mom and sister in tow helping pick the correct flower. I must say, actual violets are SO MUCH FASTER to pick! I was sent home with the violets, left over pizza, canning equipment and some seedlings to plant in my garden.

Violets...what I should have picked the first time.

As soon as I got home I immediately started the jelly. Once I get my mind on doing something, I have to finish it. What do you think?

I have no idea if it will be good or not. One jar fell when taking it out of the water bath, so that one will probably need to go in the fridge. I know I heard at least five pings from the seven jars, so that is a good sign I won’t make everyone sick.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. You better like your jelly!