Friday, August 3, 2012

Eating Omily: I am Jelly; What Am I?

Happy Friday!  I can't believe another week is over already.  Here it is, August!!  I'll definitely be hitting the beach with caprese salad for lunch soon, and there's at least one more picnic on my schedule!  I swear, Summer is the fastest season.  Partially because I'm kept hopping getting all the deliciousness preserved before it disappears.  I still have four kinds of produce to get into canning jars before the end of September!

On Wednesday, I checked one off my list: watermelon!  I've been chopping it up, eating it fresh, and freezing it into granita, but I wanted a longer term solution, and I also wanted a preserve that would be the perfect gift for my hot weather loving friends: a taste of summer anytime!  Watermelon jelly!

Now, if you were paying attention on Wednesday, you'll already know that I failed a little bit at the picture taking proccess...but no worries, I staged a reenactment, just for you!

Here is what the whole sugar baby watermelon looked like before I went at it with a really big knife.
Here's what it looked like after. 
 See?  You didn't miss much!  Did I mention how yummy this melon is?  I am so thankful for 3-5 pound melons: not too heavy for me to haul home along with the rest of my Farmer's Market haul, and just enough fruit for fresh eating, and granita if I'm in the mood for it.  Once the melon was chopped, I put it in the blender, and after that, it looked like this.
Then I put it in a strainer, and let all the juice drain out.  One quart of the juice went into a sauce pan, and once it came to a boil, I added lemon juice, sugar, calcium water, and pectin.  Watermelon juice doesn't have enough of its own pectic to gel without help.

Once it came back to a boil, it was all done-easy as pie!  I stirred it, skimmed the foam off, then put it into clean, hot canning jars, and proccessed it in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.  This picture is from the five minute rest the jars get with the heat turned off once the processing time is up.  The lid is always on when you're processing.
 Here are my lovely, pink, clear(ish; I didn't strain the juice finely enough, ok??) jars of watermelon jelly!

There was enough left over to throw in the fridge for an immediate taste test.  The lemon juice tamed the sweetness of the sugar just enough: this jelly really does taste like spreading a sweet, ripe watermelon onto your toast.  Awesome!  The husband gave it a good review, too.  We've reached a mutual agreement to call it 'Watermelly'.  Now that it sounds cute, you really want a jar, right??

Next up will probably be blueberry jam, although I may skip it in favor of doing peaches before they'll be the first to know!

I leave you with this gorgeous picture of heirloom tomatoes I saw on Monday: truly the greatest blessing Summer has to offer.  Even if you don't have it in you to put 'em up, get to your Farmer's Market and enjoy this stuff while it lasts!


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