Watermelon is my favorite summer fruit hands down. In fact, summer doesn’t officially start until I see those mini mountains of watermelons in the market with people trying to decipher the secret of those green balls. I love watching people buy watermelons, they drum on them , pat them, inspect them carefully, turning them this way and that,they go through watermelon after watermelon till they find the one!I could never speak watermelon, I have bought enough watermelons that turned out white, yes white not even pink lol so I am not here to offer you advice about buying watermelons. What I do know very well is how to enjoy watermelons.
According to my mum my love affair with watermelon started when I was one and though I don’t go diving into watermelon platters any more, I still try to express my love for watermelons in other ways like looking for new and innovative ways to enjoy it. I have already shared frappes, granitas and drinks that I enjoy making every summer but ever since I started blogging I have learnt that there is more to watermelons than that beautiful juicy flesh. It turns out that the rind (white part of the watermelon peel) can be turned into a number of tasty treats both savory and sweet.
I decide to start with the sweet. The recipe came from my friend Lara, she raves about her watermelon jam all the time and I finally decided to give it a try myself. My only changes to the recipe were to add the cinnamon and the orange peel to flavor it (The inspiration for that came from Rufus spirit guide strawberry jam recipe ). The result was amazing, if you have ever had candied fruits or pumpking this will remind you of it in terms of texture with a mild and refreshing flavor. If you are not particularly fond of cinnamon or orange peel try other flavors, ginger, cardamom or all spice are all great variations
Watermelon rind jam
3 cups watermelon rind
1.5 cups sugar
Zest of one orange (the colored part only not the white)
juice of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
Remove the green parts off the rind and then cut the rind into 1-2 cm cubes.
Add enough boiling water to submerge the rind cubes then leave it to cool down and store it in the fridge over night
the next day drain the watermelon reserving 2 cups water and then add the watermelon, and water to a pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
When the water boils lower the heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the sugar (you need to add half the amount of watermelon in sugar, the ratio is 2:1 watermelon rind to sugar) and stir till the sugar dissolves
Then add the cinnamon and orange peel and lemon juice and lower the heat .
Stir the mix occasionally for an hour over very low heat keeping the pot partially covered. (you may need to add water if you feel the fluid is drying up before the watermelon rind is cooked through, you’ll know it is cooked through when it turns translucent )
Gradually the liquid will thicken and deepen in color, if you like the watermelon rind to be of candied fruit consistency leave it till it is deep amber color and most of the liquid has been absorbed
If you like it to more closer to the consistency of a loose jam take it off the heat when the color is golden.
One thing you should remember, the color and consistency of the jam will continue to deepen and thicken after you take it off the heat as it cools down.
If you do not go through enough watermelon to produce 3 cups of rind you can peel and cut the rind and submerge it in water and store it in the fridge, add to it until you have the entire amount you need to make the jam
The jam is eaten with bread , toast ,with some heavy or double cream or with some butter. You can also top desserts with it. There is also the option of cutting it with a cookie cutter instead of cutting the rind into squares and cooking it the same way and then draining off the liquid and allowing it to drain over night on a wire rack and serving as candy