Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An Apology and a Recipe

Dear Readers,

I apologize for taking so danged long to write to you.

I have not abandoned the blog, but as you might imagine there is little time to blog other than at the crack of dawn or the dead of night when you have six children.

I started to tell you about our family road trip to Lake Bruin, Louisiana, but somehow I managed to wander far and away off topic opining on the ethanol corn fields that dot the map east of Monroe, how sometimes leaving the 'right' religion can lead you to marital unity and happiness, and how bleach baths can save your sanity under very particular circumstances.  Somewhere around mile marker 214, I look up dazed from want of sleep and slightly bedazzled by staring too long into the luminous glow of the monitor and I realized that I was far off course.  'D' is for [delete].

I still don't have much time to organize my thoughts into a coherent piece, so instead, I present to you a recipe I have been working on South Meets East Spiced Pickled Watermelon Rind©.  Enjoy!

South Meets East Spiced Pickled Watermelon Rind©
N.B. Jaggery general term for a traditional, unrefined sugar made from raw cane juice.  It still contains the molasses and invert sugars in the sugar crystals as well as many mineral salts.  It can range from a golden brown to dark brown in color.  In Mexico, they sell it in cones called piloncillos.  You can find it at your local Indian or Latin Market.

the vegetable:
1 medium size watermelon

the brine:

1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 bunch of lemon verbena (washed and well bruised)
1 inch knob ginger sliced into 6-8 pieces
2 2-inch cinnamon sticks
¾ cup kosher salt
¼ cup jaggery or piloncillo
3 quarts water

the pickle:

1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon whole cloves
4 lemons
3 satsumas
1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 2-inch cinnamon sticks
1 cup jaggery or piloncilo
2 cups of raw cane sugar
3 cups water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup white distilled vinegar

  • Step 1: Prepare the watermelon:  Quarter the watermelon.  Remove the red watermelon flesh, leaving a thin strip of pink on the rind.  Using a y-peeler (or a very sharp paring knife ) remove the inedible green skin from the rind. Cut into 1-inch wide crescents. Set aside.

  • Step 2: Make the brine:  Place 3 quarts of water, ¼ cup of jaggery, kosher salt, whole allspice, whole cloves, lemon verbena, ginger,  and cinnamon sticks in a large pot.  Heat over medium heat until all the salt and jaggery dissolve.  Let cool.  In a large non-reactive container, pour brine over the watermelon rind.  Cover and let sit overnight.
  • Step 3:  Rinse and cook the brined rinds:  Rinse the brined watermelon rind in two or three changes of cold water.  In a large pot, cover watermelon rind with water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until pieces are still crisp but you can pierce with a fork.  Approximately 10 minutes.  Drain in a colander and set aside.
  • Step 4:  Make the syrup for the pickles:  Thinly slice the citrus. In a large pot combine the vinegars, sugar, jaggery, ginger, and spices with the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Add the rinds and simmer for 10 minutes.  Drain in a colander over a bowl so as to catch the liquid.  Place in a sauce pan and reduce until you have 4½ cups of syrup, 12-15 minutes, over high heat.  Transfer syrup to a metal bowl.

  • Step 5:  Can those suckers:  Sterilize jars, lids and equipment according to manufacturer's recommendations.  Fill hot, sterilized jars with pieces of rind, meyer lemon, and spices.  Cover with syrup leaving ½-inch head space in each jar.  Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

I have a frozen bunch of watermelon rind in my freezer waiting to get enough to do this! Thanks for the recipe.

LOVE your blog! Thank you for stopping by mine so I was able to find you!