Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Canning : Watermelon Jelly

I must say, I used up nearly every ounce of that giant watermelon!  I wasted very very little.  Which is sort of amazing when you think about how much normally gets tossed when you eat a melon. 

Pickled Watermelon Rind

I made a second batch of pickled watermelon rind and finally got around to making a batch of watermelon jelly.  I actually have more watermelon juice saved in the freezer in case I want to make more jelly or give it to friends who are itching to make some watermelon margaritas. 

Should you find yourself with a gargantuan watermelon too, here is a very simple recipe for watermelon jelly.  And compared to the rind recipe, it's super duper speedy too.

But first some notes...
* I used two kinds of pectin.  The recipe I based mine from said to use the box pectin, a first for me.  But it didn't quite gel enough.  So I used what I had on hand, a pouch of liquid pectin.  In the end, I used both a box of powder dry and pouch .  Most who have made jellies before know that you sort of have to play the pectin thing by ear.  Sometimes things gel exactly as planned and then...well sometimes you end up with sauce. 

* I heard a tip years ago that I keep forgetting to pass along to any new canners out there.  When making jelly, towards the end to test how well it comes to a gel, keep a metal teaspoon in a glass of ice water.  Dry off the spoon and dip in the boiling jelly.  In less than a minute it should come to room temp and you will be able to see how thick you've made it.  If not thick enough, that's when I add the second thing of pectin and cross my fingers that it works. 

* Perhaps this is stating the obvious but I am going to say it anyway.  When doing any sort of canning, especially making jelly or preserves, timing is critical.  Make sure you have all of your stuff in order and ready to go.  I like to make sure my jars or all washed and starting to sterilize in the water bath before I start cooking anything on the stove.  Jars can always hang out in the boiling water longer if needed.  I also make sure I have all of my ingredients out and ready to go.  There is often just one minute between not ready and ready when making a jelly.  Don't go walking away to fold laundry or start another project until you are finished and the jars are in the water bath.

* Lids, the flat metal disk that touches the glass jar, can only be used ONCE.  Everything else, the jars and the rings, can be used for a lifetime.  But lids are a use one time only part of the process. 

OK enough ramble...  You get big bonus points if you are still reading.  Here's the very easy and tasty recipe.  I don't like watermelon but I actually think the jelly tastes really lovely.  I mean, honestly, it's like candy.

Watermelon Jelly

* 4 cups cubed watermelon
* 3 1/2 cups sugar
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 box dry no sugar needed pectin
* possible second thing of pectin*

* Place watermelon in a blender.  Blend until all liquid. 

*At this point you can either use a jelly strainer (too fussy for a girl like me but if you have one, go for it), cheese cloth (still too fussy), a colander just to make sure you get the seeds out (my chosen method) or nothing at all because you know all the seeds are for sure out.  I strained the liquid through a colander just to make sure any big chunks or seeds were taken out.  You can see from the photo that my jelly came out clear just doing this method.  This should result in two cups of juice.  That's how much you need...TWO cups.

* In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar and the box of dry pectin together.

* In a large pot, boil 2 cups watermelon juice, lemon juice and pectin/sugar mixture over medium heat.
  It should take about 5-10 minutes to come to a boil.  Make sure you stir often to prevent burning.

* Once at a full boil, add the rest of the sugar.  Bring back to a boil.  Bring to a hard boil for one full minute.

* After it hard boils for a minute, test to see if you are happy with the jelly/pectin situation.  If you are not, add more pectin now- start with part of a package if you are worried.  Bring back to a hard boil and test again.

* Funnel into sterilized jars.  Add lids.  Add rings.  Place in water bath.  Once at a boil, boil for 10 minutes (or more depending on your sea level situation).

Watermelon Jelly

And there you have it.  Easy peasy.  I think the jelly will be excellent over a brick of cream cheese, on toast or even on a meat such as pork or as a ham glaze. 


Peachy Keen said...

That looks delicious (and so cute in the jars!). Canning has always intimidated me but I'm very impressed by those who do it. Hope you can enjoy the deliciousness all year long!

Barb said...

I seriously want to jump into your pictures and eat all your yummy treats... Please tell me you'll bring snacks when I see you?? :-D

...just another preppy shopaholic said...

Wow that watermelon jelly sounds amazing!!! Never made jelly before!

REBrown said...

This looks good! I love the taste of fresh watermelon, but not really the texture. I think this could work!

Ruth said...

I have never heard of watermelon jelly but it sounds good.


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