Friday, November 27, 2009

Watermelon Rind Preserves, Great Friends, Great Food

Yesterday, for Thanksgiving, I didn't cook a darn thing. Shocking, isn't it?  I was a guest at the home of Richard and Adelle Toussaint. Adelle is a very dear friend. They had -- Are you ready for this? -- twenty-eight guests! They are some of the kindest and most generous people I know. 

To handle this crowd, Adelle pulled in Chef Henry Holland. Ladies and Gents, I tried to get his sweet potato recipe for you, I really did.  Nothing could pry it out of him. The best I can do is tell you to close your eyes and imagine. Sweet, earthy yams with brown sugar-pecan praline sauce swirled throughout. Heaven.
Adelle herself made fifty-six deviled eggs. I tried to get that recipe, too. Sigh. Just imagine creamy, smooth filling with hints of dill melting in your mouth.  Not one was left!

I can't blame them for keeping their recipes secret.   Is the world ready for that much deliciousness?

Adelle asked me bring my State Fair of Texas prize winning Watermelon Rind Preserves.

Now, to know about Watermelon Rind Preserves you have to be old, old South.  Made from the rind of the watermelon, they taste nothing like the red flesh.  More of a candy than spreadable jam, Watermelon Rind Preserves take on the spicy, lemony flavorings added to the batch.

Watermelon Rind Preserves are a family favorite for the holidays.  Mother made them. Grandmother made them. Now you can make them.

P.S. (Edited 9-5-2010) If you make this recipe, please let me know in the comments below. 

Watermelon Rind Preserves

Rind of watermelon
Alum
Water

For each pound rind:
1 cup water
1 pound sugar
4 thin slices ginger
4 whole cloves
2 lemons, sliced and seeds removed

Remove soft flesh and dark green skin from watermelon.  Chop watermelon rind into cubes. (One-half to one inch. Depending on your preference.)

Weigh rind.  Soak rind in alum water, using 2 teaspoons alum to one-quart water. Make enough alum water to cover rind. Soak one hour. 

Drain, cover in ice water. Soak another hour. Drain.

Place in large pot. Cover with fresh water. Boil 1½ hours. Drain again.

Place required amount of sugar and water in clean pot.  Cook 5 minutes to make a syrup.

Add melon rind, and cook until tender.

Add required amount of ginger, lemon and cloves.  Simmer until all are tender. 

Pack into sterilized jars. Process in hot water bath, 10 minutes for ½ pints, 15 minutes for pints.

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