Just when I thought I had heard of everything I was blown away with a recipe I just had to try! With watermelon season in my garden almost over I just had to go out and salvage one to try a new recipe.
One of my favorite evening rituals is to browse through a few of my favorite blogs to see what others, with my same passions are doing around the country. From the upper northwest to Australia I just love learning and reading how others live their life on their little part of the world.
The other day I was catching up on one of my favorites “Food in Jars” and I stumbled across an old recipe posted last year on Watermelon Jelly. Growing up in the north I had never heard or seen my mother or grandmother ever do anything with watermelon other than to holler at us kids to go spit the seeds off the porch. So when I came across this jelly recipe I had to give it a try.
I pretty much followed her recipe exact except for adding a little bit more pectin (to ensure a good set) and a couple drops of red food coloring to give it a nice deep pink ripe watermelon look.
She did warn that it can take a week or more for the pectin to really set, so if it looks runny don’t be alarmed just put it away and forget it. Mine does look runny but I kept a little taste out on a spoon while I cleaned the kitchen up and it was already starting to set on the spoon so I am not worried.
I was very pleasantly surprised at the taste since the smell really was not that appealing while cooking…if you like Watermelon Jolly Rancher’s then you will love this jelly.
Makes 10 – 8 oz jelly jars
6 cups pureed watermelon (remove any seeds prior to pureeing)
5 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
1 1/2 packet powdered pectin
2 drops red food coloring
Combine watermelon puree, sugar and lemon juice in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature of the nascent jelly reaches 220 degrees. Add the powdered pectin and boil for another five minutes.
Remove from the heat, add food coloring and pour into prepared hot jars. Wipe rims, apply hot lids and screw on bands.
Please note that I did not hot water bath this recipe since I heated my jars and lids in boiling water prior to filling them with the hot liquid. I also turned them upside down overnight to ensure the lids seal.
If you are accustomed to the hot water bath method the recipe calls for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
This jelly can take up to one week to set. Please give it time.
After a few days I could clearly see that this jelly was not going to set. I took the advice of the original recipe holder and un-capped them and re-canned them. I ended up adding 1 cup more sugar and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice. Once I stirred that in good I brought it back up to 220 degrees and then added another packet of pectin. After the pectin was stirred in I boiled in for a good five minutes. Poured it in hot jars sealed them with new hot lids and gave it another shot.
Only after an hour I can already see it setting up so I think this did the trick.
As I looked back over the original recipe I think I know where I went wrong. The recipe calls for “watermelon puree” which in my books would be more pulp. I pushed mine through a strainer so I didn’t have to pick out all the seeds so I had more clear liquid. In all my years of canning I really think that is where I went wrong. If my family likes this and I make it again I will take the time to pick out the seeds and make sure I have a thicker puree instead of clear liquid.
That is all part of canning…some things you just have to learn the hard way!
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