and a couple of other interesting things...
Watermelon is considered a pepo (pronounced peepoh) meaning a one celled, many seeded berry that has a hard rind. Other pepos are pumpkin, squash, and cucumber. The watermelon supposedly originated in Southern Africa and is now considered native to Northern and Western parts of Africa. It is documented that some watermelon seeds were found in the tomb of King Tut!
In addition to those fun, alleged facts, it is proven that watermelons are made up of 92% water and 6% sugar and they are high in beta carotene and a great source of vitamin C.
A quote from Wikipedia: "The citrulline which exists in watermelon (especially in the rind) is a known stimulator of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is thought to relax and expand blood vessels, much like the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, and may even increase libido."
So, for what it's worth...
and to break the ice, here is a little something from Japan:
p.s. this is not my image and please don't use it dishonestly.
Watermelon Jelly is super easy to make and is great if you are new to canning!
Combine and boil the puree with a lot of sugar and some lemon juice until it reaches 220 degrees, stirring occasionally
Don't walk away from it or it will do this:
Fill and process the jars, let them set overnight, and you will wake up to this:
Here is the recipe:
Watermelon Jelly (adapted from a variety of internet sources)
-6 cups pureed watermelon (strained)
-5 cups white sugar
-7 TBSP Bottled Lemon Juice (make sure you use bottled for controlled acidity)
-1 pkg. Powdered Pectin
Combine puree with sugar and lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally until it reaches 220 degrees. Slowly add in the pectin while continuously stirring so it doesn't clump and ruin your entire batch. Bring to a rapid boil for another 5 minutes, and make sure you watch it!
Skim off any film or foam
Get your sterilized jars ready and fill each one up leaving about 1/2" headspace, de-bubble with a chopstick or something plastic, wipe rims, apply lids and rings. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn off heat and let the jars rest in the water for another 5 minutes. Remove the jars and let sit overnight undisturbed.
Makes about 52 oz.
*I put mine in the refrigerator the next day to help with setting. It is hot in my kitchen and I think this is a good fix. I read that it does take a little longer for watermelon jelly to set-like up to 10 days.
Is putting it in the refrigerator the right solution?
I have no idea. but mine tasted great!
I do, however, have some ideas on how else you can use your homemade jelly:
-Sliced baguette with watermelon jelly, fresh mozzarella, balsamic syrup, fresh basil.
-Feta cheese, topped with watermelon jelly, fresh oregano, sunflower seeds
-Try it with sushi or fresh fish!
-And then the obvious: A dollop of watermelon jelly on yogurt, finish off a simple pound cake or cupcake, add it as an accompaniment to a cheese plate, and of course toast with butter and jelly!