Easy watermelon rind preserves recipe for your garden watermelon crop.
Lois Nance, of Marshville, North Carolina, writes that she hopes another reader has a recipe for sweet watermelon rind preserves.
James Kennedy, of Leicester, North Carolina, sends this version, although he asks if Lois is sure she wants to try this recipe because of the work involved. He writes that the recipe is from a Ball Blue Book, published in 1969, and that the recipe also appears in the 1938 and 1941 editions of the book.
1 1/2 quarts prepared melon rind
2 tablespoons slaked lime or 4 tablespoons salt
4 quarts water, divided, keeping 2 quarts cold
1 tablespoon ground ginger
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 cups water
1 lemon, thinly sliced
(As James says, "Now for the fun part.")
To prepare melon rind: Trim green skin and pink flesh from thick melon rind; cut into 1-inch pieces. Dissolve lime in 2 quarts water and pour over rind. Let stand 2 to 3 hours, if lime is used, or 5 to 6 hours if salt is used. Drain, rinse and drain again. Cover with 2 quarts cold water and let stand 30 minutes. Drain. Sprinkle ginger over rind; cover with water and cook until fork tender. Drain.
Combine sugar, lemon juice and 7 cups water. Boil 5 minutes; add rind and boil gently for 30 minutes. Add sliced lemon and cook until the melon rind is clear.
Pack boiling hot in hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust lids. Process half pints and pints for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 185 degrees Fahrenheit in hot water bath. Yields about 6 half pints.
Note: If lime is used, the preserves will be crispier. Slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) should be available at drug stores or farm supply stores.
If a spicy preserve is preferred, tie 1 stick cinnamon and 1 tablespoon whole cloves in a cheesecloth bag and add to sugar mixture.
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