I’ve been sharing more recipes lately, mostly because my new years resolution this year was to learn how to be a better home maker and to be better at contributing better to preserving family finances, I’m definitely making steps in the right direction, but by no means do I claim to be an expert. I do find a lot of joy in cooking and baking, and it’s something my kids enjoy as well, so it’s easy to be enthused about those things with them. What mother doesn’t want her kids to gobble up the food she makes and say “Oh Mom, this is the best dinner ever!” at every single meal?
Zesty Watermelon Jelly
from “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today”
Makes about five 8 oz. jars.
6 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup white balsamic, white wine, or apple cider vinegar.
4tbsp lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1 stem lemongrass chopped
2 pouches of liquid pectin
1. In a large stainless steel sauce pan crush watermelon with a potato masher. Cover and heat gently over medium-low heatfor 5 minutes. Remove from heat and crush throughly.
2. Transfer to a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth set over a deep bowl. Let drip undisturbed, for 2 hours. Measure two cups watermelon juice. If you do not have the required amount, crush more watermelon or add up to 1/4 cup unsweetened white grape juice.
3. Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.
4. Transfer watermelon juice to a clean large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Stir in vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and lemongrass. Over hight heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 2 minute. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam.
5. Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
6.Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid, Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Oh, heavens this is sticky! Be ready with about 5 fresh washcloths out and a clean dish scrubbing brush to use as you go.
Have someone handy when you’re boiling the jelly and adding ingredients, it’s pretty hard to stir and add the pectin at the same time.
I used an entire smaller medium watermelon and got 9 cups of juice, I think it was a juicier than normal watermelon. We drank a cup of it and used the rest to make a quadruple batch. It was fun, but I think I’ll just juice some apples and carrots next time to make a yummy drink with left over juice, and make a double batch at most, the sheer quantity of jelly was overwhelming to process.
Yield was supposed to be 5 half pint (8 oz) jars. With my 4X recipe I got 25 half pints and 2 pints, so a tiny more than 7 jars for a “normal” size recipe, I was a little generous with the lemon juice, but that would only account for like 1/4 cup.
For the balsamic/wine/vinegar, I used about half white cooking wine, and half cider vinegar. This makes for less alcohol than something else you’d eat with vanilla extract for comparison, plus most should boil off with all the hard boiling required to can properly. This was my first experience with wine, and it was interesting, it smells just like vinegar. I hope I haven’t offended anybody by my use of alcohol.
I wasn’t able to find stalks of lemon grass, but my grocer had tubes of chopped lemongrass next to the pre cut veggies and fruit, bagged salad, and refrigerated dressings. The recipe called for 1 stalk, so for my 4X batch I used 2/3 of the tube as they claim there are 6 stalks worth of lemongrass per tube.
Yes, I absolutely do see myself making this again in a few years.