Saturday, August 16, 2008

Memory Keeping: Recipes: Watermelon Preserves

More from the 1950s church ladies' cookbook.

I'm proud to say I grew up among women who could make something edible out of just about anything alive. (You've seen the persimmon pie recipe.) With that in mind, I've selected as today's recipe: "Watermelon Preserves."

Actually, the name is a bit misleading. The preserves aren't made from watermelon per se. They're made from the rind. (Yes, the part you don't eat.) Here's how to do it -- word for word, directly from the cookbook, as before:

Watermelon Preserves

1 watermelon (rind only)
pinch alum
2 lemons (sliced thin)

Peel and cut into slices the rind of one watermelon. Soak slices in weak salt solution overnight (1 Tbsp. salt to 1 qt. water). Drain, then parboil rind for a few minutes in water, containing a small pinch of dissolved alum. Drain again and make heavy syrup, using three parts sugar to 1 part water. Add lemons and spices, if desired. Put rind in boiling syrup, boil slowly until tender. Pack in hot jars and seal.

I remember eating watermelon rind preserves on several occasions when I was growing up, but I don't remember them having any actual flavor -- not like apple or blackberry or damson. They were sweet, and that's about it. They worked just fine on a hot buttered biscuit, though.

Till next time...

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