Tag Archives: watermelon

Watermelon Jelly

Our family, my son especially, adores watermelon. The trouble is, when you get melons as giant as we’ve been getting in our Local Box, it becomes a challenge to eat it all before the sweet fruit turns bad. Watermelon jelly is a simple way to use up a bit of your stash and keep the ultimate reminder of summer available all winter long. Plus, homemade jellies make great holiday gifts.

Canning often sounds intimidating but it’s quite easy, especially if you follow the directions provided in your package of pectin. The task is made easier if you have specialized canning tools on hand, but you can easily improvise with a large stock pot, a funnel, and a pair of sturdy rubber-coated tongs.

watermelon jelly

You don’t need much whole watermelon to get the juice needed for this, so start out in small batches. If you make too much juice, use it to make agua frescas or margaritas!

The sugar used in the recipe might look like a lot, but until you get the basics of canning under your belt, it’s not recommended to make changes to ingredients – you want to make sure you have a safe product!

Watermelon Jelly
Makes approximately 6 half-pint jars

4 cups watermelon juice*
6 cups sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 packets liquid pectin (such as Certo)

*To get the watermelon juice, cut watermelon flesh into chunks and puree in a blender. Strain into a cheesecloth set up over a bowl, or use a jelly bag and stand. Let sit for about 2 hours to let the juice drip down. Don’t squeeze the cheesecloth or bag, or you might end up with some solids that will look ugly in your finished jelly.

watermelon jelly

Draining watermelon for juice

Pour juice into a large nonreactive stockpot or dutch oven and stir in full amount of sugar. Heat to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
Stir in pectin and return mixture to a rolling boil and cook for 1 minute. If you have a candy thermometer, cook until jelly reaches 220 degrees.
Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon.
Ladle into jars, place lids, and screw on bands finger-tight. If processing, place in a water bath canner heated to boiling and process for 15 minutes. Remove jars and let cool on counter for 24 hours. If not all the jars have “pinged” (when sealed properly the lids will have suctioned down) re-process or store in refrigerator.

Note that jelly often can take two weeks to completely set. If your jelly still isn’t set after that, follow the directions included in your pectin box for re-cooking and processing.

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Sweeten Up Your Love Life with Watermelon

Large Texas Watermelons

It’s not true that lugging a watermelon around in your cart, to your car, and finally home actually makes it sweeter. And the first time it crushes that bread or bag of chips it becomes a bittersweet affair. But no longer because we’ve got big, burly men to carry these amazingly delicious boulders right to your door (and into your kitchen if you like).

Watermelon has had a slow season locally with the drought…being 94% water means they need a lot of water, but they are finally appearing in the Local Box this week. Local watermelon is one of those treats I think has absolutely no comparison. Check out this previous newsletter for the best way to cut picnic perfect watermelon. Nothing holds a candle to a Texas watermelon on a hot & sweaty summer day.

Speaking of candles – if you are longing for another kind of hot & sweaty summer, watermelon may be your new best friend. New studies show it has much higher levels of some particular amino acids that have a particular function in making a particular body part…..function. In other words, keep the candles and champagne but replace those strawberries with some watermelon when getting in the mood.

by Mason Arnold, Co-founder & Cookie Monster

Local Box Meal Plan: July 4-8

Hope everyone had a great holiday! I’ll be enjoying my melons simply cubed and raw, but here are some great recipes for the rest of our ingredients.

Yellow Peaches – Caskey Orchards
Blueberries – Berry Best
Assorted Summer Squash – Massey Farm
Yukon Potatoes – Tecolote Farm
Eggplant (Assorted) – Fruitful Hill Farm & Animal Farm
Armenian Cucumber – Fruitful Hill Farm
Juliet Tomatoes – Hillside Farm
Summer Peas – Just Peachy Farm
Cantaloupe OR Sugar Baby Watermelon – Massey Farm

Sun-dried Juliet tomatoes – This is a super-interesting recipe for sun-dried tomatoes dried using the heat inside your car, accompanied by a few recipes to use your newly dried tomatoes. If you’re more of a traditionalist, just pop the sliced tomatoes in your oven on its lowest setting for a couple of hours.

Cucumber-tomato salad – Make a simple salad with peeled Armenian cukes, sliced black olives (if you like them), tomatoes, Italian dressing, and salt/pepper.

Orecchiette with caramelized fennel and summer veggies – Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian and refers to the shape of the pasta. It can be difficult to find (and expensive when you do find it) so sub spiral or wagon wheel pasta if you’d like.

Herbed summer squash and potato torte – From one of my favorites, Smitten Kitchen.

Baked blueberry-peach oatmeal – This calls for canned peaches, but just use sliced fresh ones instead. I wouldn’t bother peeling them, but I don’t mind a little peach fuzz.

Local Box Meal Plan: July 19-23

This week, we are getting:

Fresh pinto beans – Just Peachy
Lentil sprouts – Groovy Greens
Figs – Oasis Gardens
Blueberries – Berry Best Farm
Bibb lettuce – Bella Verde
Peppers – Comanche Farm
Key limes – G&S Groves
Squash – Massey
Personal watermelon – Massey
Cucumbers – Acadian
Eggplant – Tecolote

I am making:

Watermelon – Blueberry Salad with Feta – The original doesn’t use blueberries, but I think they’d be fantastic here, especially with the key lime juice.

Prosciutto-wrapped figs – Recipe to come in the handout in your Local Box.

Pesto vegetable tart – To roast peppers, put them under the broiler for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through, until the skins are blackened. Put them in a ziplock bag and let them sit for 10 minutes. When you remove them, the skins will peel right off, and they’ll be easy to de-seed. I’m going to roast all of the peppers and use some here and the rest on sandwiches and salads.

Turkey-cream cheese sandwiches – Spread two slices of hearty bread, like ciabatta, with garden vegetable cream cheese. Top one sliced with turkey, sliced cucumbers, lettuce, sprouts, and some of those peppers you roasted for the above recipe. You could even press it in a panini press or in a cast iron skillet for a warm sandwich.

Basic pinto beans – These have a wonderfully creamy taste and texture, so I want to let their flavor shine by not doing much to them. Simmer about 10 minutes in chicken (or vegetable) broth and season with salt and pepper.

Local Box Meal Plan: August 3-7

This week we’re getting anaheim and serrano peppers from Lundgren, blueberries from Berry Best, pea shoots, baby leeks from Animal Farm, a peach from Cooper Orchards, eggplant from Tecalote, lettuce from Bluebonnet Hydroponics, watermelon from Acadian, figs from Purple Goose Farm, basil from My Father’s Farm, and squash from Texas Natural.

So I’m making:

Lunch:

  • Grilled squash and eggplant sandwich with a basil-chevre spread
  • BLT on a pizza dough roll

Happy hour:

  • Baked brie with figs and blueberries
  • Watermelon and feta skewers

Dinner:

  • Grilled chicken for Cory/salmon for me marinated in lemongrass and ginger, served with a pea shoot salad dressed in sesame oil, soy sauce, and toasted sesame seeds
  • Chile verde (made with peppers and leeks)

Keep in mind that like figs, pea shoots are quite perishable and need to be used ASAP!

Local Box Meal Plan: July 27-31

Greenling, you’re throwing me a curveball this week. Eggplant, okra AND figs? Lots of my favorite textures there. =/ Luckily, I’ve got a plan!

This week, we’re getting figs, blueberries from Berry Best, watermelon from Acadian, peaches from Cooper Orchards, baby leeks from Animal Farm, crimini mushrooms from Kitchen Pride, eggplant from Tecalote, okra from Acadian, sweet Italian peppers from Lundgren, cucumbers from Acadian, lettuce from Bluebonnet Hydroponics, and herbs from Tecalote. So here’s what I’m making:

Breakfast:

  • Fig waffles
  • Omelette with cheddar, leeks and mushrooms

Lunches:

  • Baba ganoush (making it just like I make hummus, as David Lebovitz’s didn’t really do it for me) with pita chips
  • Green salad with cucumbers and herbs

Side dish:

Dinners:

  • Goat stew with italian peppers and okra
  • Bison steaks with a blueberry sauce

Dessert:

Do you have any “problem” veggies that come in your CSA box?

Watermelon Sorbet

We got a cute little watermelon in our Greenling box last week, and rather than cut it up and just eat the wedges, Cory urged me to make something with it. With the record temps here in Central Texas, there’s nothing more refreshing on hot days like this than sorbet.

Obviously if you have a watermelon without seeds, this would be easier, but if you put chunks through a food mill, it will puree the watermelon and leave the seeds behind. Not many people have a food mill, but I’ve found it to be one of my most useful and used items in my kitchen.

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 whole watermelon (Mine was probably 5 lbs. Not too big.)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp. very cold citrus vodka (I had citrus vodka already from the lemonade I made, but you could really use any vodka for this. I think they make watermelon vodka; that would be good.)

Directions:

  • Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup. My watermelon was quite sweet already, so I only used ~1/4 c. of simple syrup. If yours is less sweet, you may need more than 1/3 c. of simple syrup.
  • Puree the watermelon, removing the seeds if necessary. Like I mentioned before, I recommend a food mill to do this, but if you don’t have one, a food processor works too (you just need to remove all of the seeds beforehand).

  • Add the lime juice, lime zest and simple syrup to the watermelon puree and chill for at least 2 hours.
  • After the puree has chilled, add the vodka to the puree and freeze in the ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.
  • After it has frozen in the ice cream maker, remove the sorbet to a Tupperware and keep in the freezer for an hour before serving.

Verdict:
So light and refreshing! Our watermelon was so ripe and sweet, so the lime adds some much-needed acid to cut the sweetness. I always like to add just a touch of alcohol to sorbet. It prevents it from getting a bit too icy in the freezer. Don’t add too much though; that’ll prevent freezing and will taste more like it should be served with a paper umbrella.