When I was growing up, my brother and I would spend a couple of weeks with many of our relatives. One of the things I remember my Grandma McNemar making is Watermelon Pickles. I've been trying to find a good recipe for them ever since. When I asked Grandma for her recipe she looked at me with a blank look, as though she didn't remember ever making Watermelon Pickles. Everytime I looked at recipes they seemed wrong. So many of them called for cinnamon and cloves. For my Grandma, these are some pretty exotic spices -- especially with pickles. So I would discount those and try others. They were NEVER correct. Well, this year I tried this recipe from Southern Foods.
With a couple of modifications:
- 2 pounds watermelon rind
- 1/4 cup pickling salt
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon broken stick cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
- 5 maraschino cherries, halved,optional
Preparation:Trim the dark green and pink parts from watermelon rind. Cut rind in 1-inch cubes and measure 7 cups. Soak watermelon rind overnight in a mixture of the pickling salt and water. If it takes more to cover, use the same proportion salt to water. Drain and rinse watermelon rind. Cover rind with cold water in a large saucepan; cook just until tender. Meanwhile, in a 6 to 8-quart kettle or Dutch oven, combine sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, whole cloves, and 1 cup water. Simmer mixture 10 minutes, then strain. Add drained watermelon rind, lemon slices, and maraschino cherries, if using. Simmer the mixture until watermelon rind is translucent. Fill hot half-pint jars with watermelon rind and syrup mixture, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water
I left off the cherries and I used a little bit of lemon juice but I skipped the thin slices.
The most amazing thing happened when I was making these pickles. As soon as I smelled the sauce cooking, I knew I had the correct ingredients and probably the correct recipe. I make a lot of pickles (Bread and Butter, Dill, you name it) but this has a special smell. For just a moment, I was transported to my Grandma's farm house in the summer. I've tasted them. I think I've finally worked this out.
Here is a picture of one of the jars.
Here is a picture of the mess I still need to clean-up.
I think I'll make another run down to the Farmer's Market next week to see if I can get a few more peaches, some more tomatoes (we go through a lot of tomatoes every year) and maybe some pears. I've been wanting to buy more scuppernog or muscatine grapes but I just can't afford to buy them right now. At $25 for a flat, I can get so many other treats for the same amount of money.
Anyone want to vote on what I should "put up" next?