Watermelon Rind Pickles...I'm Gearing up for Canning!
I know I told you I'm going to be pressure canning. While awaiting the new gasket and watcha-ma-call-it, we found we had a lot of watermelon. So yesterday, we 'forced' a lot of it on our grandkids, but even they couldn't eat all we had. When they finished, they somehow thought it okay to throw the rinds into the yard. (Possibly Pa-Pa told them the chicken would love to have them. And yes, I did mean to write the chicken.) Anyway, an hour after the kids went home, I went out to do regular yard checks. You know-the kind you sometimes do and other times, don't. Purely a matter of whether or not I feel like it.
So, feeling like it, I policed the yard for tiny Dixie cups used for tadpole collecting, forgotten bikes on their sides and anything else kids may have left behind even though told to be sure to pick up behind themselves. Once again, I am perfectly aware that if I don't police them, it's not likely to happen. Hence, my yard-policing instead. That's when I found the rinds. Hard to tell that's what they were at first since they were covered in black...black that scattered as I came closer for inspection but not so fast that I didn't recognize a horde of flies. One horde per rind. Five rinds. Five hordes.
As I entered the kitchen, fly-free rinds in hand, and made my way to the trash, I remembered my old friend, Sue. Sue had eyes like a deer and a heart to match. Unlike the unpolished gem I was, Sue had no sharp corners, even though her spirit sparkled like a diamond. She was gentle and non-judgemental and exactly the kind of person I needed to tell me about Jesus, otherwise, I'd have walked away. She didn't tell me about him until long after she'd shown him to me through her true friendship toward me. Not that I hadn't ever heard of him before. But I had always seen him from a distance. She quietly brought me right up close to him and then just as quietly introduced me. She was what a lot of Christians would call, 'my spiritual mother'. She got to go be with him several years ago and I miss her. The watermelon rinds reminded me of her because she was also the first person to introduce me to pickled watermelon rinds.
I remember how surprised and delighted I was at their taste. I eventually learned how to make them and have made them two or three times over the years. I also remembered my oldest daughter and I standing at the refrigerator with a jar of them one year and between the two of us, we nearly ate the entire jar. So, remembering these things, and seeing how much more watermelon we had left, I decided that since I'm going to be pressure canning, I could get my toes wet again by doing a little water bath canning first. I'm not the world's best by any means, but at least I'm familiar with this method of canning which may be used in some cases, such as when canning pickled watermelon rinds.
I looked up a few recipes on line and settled on one. They are all so similar that I didn't feel one would be a whole lot better than another as long as the ingredients were similar. If you're not familiar with water-bath canning, however, choose one that gives all those details as well. Here's a good one.
If you don't need instructions on water-bath canning, this is the recipe I used. Now, I cut my rinds into thin slices rather than the inch this calls for. This means means I got more rind into the jar at a time so even though I used nearly twice as much as the recipe called for, I still netted only 6 jars. Also, I doubled the syrup recipe. From that, I had a full pint left over, which I put in the fridge as I intend to make more and I can just add this to the next batch of syrup while it's cooking.
One of the great things about this southern comfort is that it may be created using watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, even squash and pumpkin rinds. I can imagine the creative cook in you might even use some of these ideas to make a few Christmas presents this year.
It turned out so nicely, y'all! I just wanted to share. My hubby's in class tonight so I am going to cut this short and go play in the kitchen. Watermelon jam is the next treat on the menu...Imagine that on your toast in February when you've had about all you can take of winter.