Putting Up Event…Watermelon Rind Preserves

I think in my past life I was a Farmers wife or something. Or maybe my Blackberry loving self deep down inside yearns for simpler non Glamah-rous life. OK, I take that back.I can see myself as a Zsa Zsa Gabor(or was it Eva) type on Green Acres.Anyway the swell duo of Rosie and Pixie have come up with a fantastic event called Putting Up. They are calling on us to use our canning skills.
A long time ago my mother and I purchased a pressure cooker/canner. We had a blast trying to make Chow Chow and pickled okra and peppers.We managed to make tons of food and oddly never went back to it again. Each summer I vowed to do something. Jams were a particular interest.With this event I have seen a lot of excellent jams. So as I always walk to a different drummer, I decided to make another item my Mommy always waxed nostalgic on. Watermelon Rinds Preserves. I used to shudder when I heard of this.I had never tasted it. But economy and time dictated that I use what I have. My Fruit and Vegetable Box yielded 2 small seedless watermelons amongst other things to bountiful to mention here. There was no way Certain Someone and I would finish these organic treats. So I dug out my pressure canner and searched for the instruction book. I then took all the watermelon meat and placed it a Gallon bag to freeze. Now that’s the way I prefer to eat it! Plus would be awesome in martinis. Then I got into the long process. Not to long, but a lot of prep.

Why would anyone want to preserve Watermelon Rind? Well my research shows that this is Asian,Southern, and Polish specialty. You associate it with the Deep South. In the Depression , one looked for ways to use every bit of food you could. Rinds are edible and can be a tasty treat cooked down with spices and sugar.Asian cookery makes their own versions as well and just the not pickled rind but used fresh in stir frys , etc.I have also seen recipes from as far away as South Africa and Australia.Seems everyone is on to something.I read they are healthy too. I found the rind, once peeled of the green skin and pink flesh , took on characteristics of cucumber. Most of the recipes in the Internet are similar. I used a combo of recipes as a guide, and added a combo of both brown and white sugar.Next time I want try try more variations. I have seen recipes call for a little spice.I’m glad I forced myself to do this and you all will be seeing more preserves from this summer.If my mother was alive she would get a kick out these if I presented it to her in a gift basket for Mothers Day. Its not only economical but fun and novel. Maybe I need to rent a table at the Farmers Market? “Glamah Rinds Anyone? They’re so cheap darlings it’s chic! “
Glamah Rinds aka Watermelon Rind Preserves
Ingredients :
1 -2 lbs prepared watermelon rind * if you have more rind adjust to levels of sweetness and spice you prefer
1/2 cup salt
6 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar (I combined brown and white sugars)
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 lemon sliced thin
1/2 tsp whole cloves * was thinking of using star anise next time.
1/2 tsp whole allspice

1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp of minced ginger
Method :
Prepare the watermelon rind, and remove any pink flesh and green skin. Cut the rind into pieces about 1 inch. Mix the salt and water in a large bowl, and add the rind. Let stand overnight. Drain thoroughly and rinse. Drain and rinse again. Place in a non reactive pot or kettle, cover with cold water, and cook, about 30 minutes, until the rind becomes tender and translucent, but still firm. Drain again. Place the sugar, vinegar, and lemon in the pot. Tie the spices in a cheesecloth bag and add to mixture. Bring to a boil, then cook 2 minutes. Add the rind, and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, for 15 minutes after it comes to a boil. Remove the rind with a slotted spoon and place in hot, sterilized jars. Boil the syrup 5 minutes longer, remove the spice bag, and pour the syrup over the rind till filled. Process in your canner according to your instructions. I used a pressure of 5 lbs and cooked for approx 10-15 in the pressure canner.
Seal at once. If a sweeter preserve is preferred, increase sugar to 2 cups. This made 4 half pints.
Serve with breads, ice creams, grilled chicken, etc.

Update! We have a winner of the the Tamale Open. Congratulations Megan . I sent you a email to claim your prize.