I can only imagine what life must have been like for Chef John Folse growing up in the New Orleans area. His cookbook, The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine, is like an 808 page love letter to his cultural roots. Part history book, but mostly cookbook, it is filled to the brim with recipes tied to his youth and, many times, family members.
My copy has been poured over many times and has quite a few post it notes stuck to pages, but I have hardly made a dent in the volume of recipes the book contains. One recipe that did catch my eye this summer was for watermelon jam.
Thus I went on a search for a ripe, local watermelon. I had to do this because there was an unfortunate situation between my husband, the weed eater, and the garden. Our melon plants ended up in garden heaven. That is all I have to say about that. I picked out this beauty and I recently learned the secret to selecting a ripe melon is to look at the, "belly". That is the bottom of the melon where it rested in the garden. If it is white, it is not ripe. If it is yellow, then you are all set.
Next, I cut a section off of the bottom and .....
set the watermelon on the end and cut the rind off this way. Much easier to take off the rind and the white section, as I really only wanted the ripe, red flesh part.
After I cubed the melon, I removed any seeds. Then the melon had to sit with a sugar and lemon juice mixture. An interesting recipe that yielded jam so sweet that it reminded me of a Sweet Tart Candy.
If you are feeling adventurous, the recipe is below.
1 1/2 cups watermelon, chopped and seeded
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package (1.75 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
3/4 cup water
Sterilize 2 (1-pint) jars with lids according to package directions. ( I used small jars without a problem.) Set aside. In large bowl, stir together melon, sugar, and lemon juice. Set aside 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In small saucepan, blend pectin and water. Boil mixture over high heat 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour pectin mixture into watermelon and stir 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Quickly pour jam into sterilized jars and seal. Boil jars in water 12-15 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours to set Opened jars may be stored in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.