The watermelon jelly was kind of an impulsive experiment. I was cutting this huge watermelon & it just ran in my head… what if I make watermelon jelly? Must have been the irresistible RED.
I am going through a jam/jelly/preserve making spree right now. Last week I made some strawberry preserve which was just awesome & we are indulgently using it now. I was not sure how it would work out, since watermelon is pretty much without any flavor. So I decided to use some homegrown mint & spices in it. I have not used pectin here. However I do want to try it with pectin another time, esp since the water content in Watermelon is much more than in any other fruits… I think pectin would definitely help with making the setting of the jelly easier.
The procedure of making the Jam/Jelly/Preserve is pretty much the same; the Jelly is made from the juice of the fruits, the jam being made with chopped fruits & the preserve is something where the fruits are kept whole while cooking. Here is my little jar of the Watermelon & Mint Spiced Jelly.
Watermelon & Mint Jelly
- 4 cups chopped seedless watermelon, rind removed
- 1/3 cup Balsamic, white wine or apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Rind
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger, peeled & sliced paper thin
- 1.5 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 3/4 Cup Fresh Mint, chopped (more or less as per your need for flavor)
Process the sugar, lemon zest & the mint in a blender/food processor till well combined.
Blend the Watermelon with Black Pepper in a blender. Strain the juice if you want. I did not do for mine.
In a stockpot/pan boil down the watermelon juice till reduced to about half the amount; add lemon juice, ginger slices, balsamic vinegar & the sugar mix. Bring it to a boil, the kind with lot of bubbles & it cannot be stirred down.
Keep boiling at high heat for about 5-8 or till the amount reduces to about one fourth of the original amount. The mix will get thick & syrupy. Take it off the heat when consistency is thinner than the desired jelly consistency; it will get much thicker when it cools down. Stir it with a spoon, scoop up some of the syrupy liquid in the spoon & let it drip down. It should drip thick & slow but in a single flow of thread; if you see the thread break into drops right when it starts to drip, it has boiled too long & got too thick.
Here is what it looked like a few seconds before I switched off the heat. The boil was slower, bubbles bigger. The color changes to a darker shade.
Note:If you overboil it, when it cools down it will get like flaky sugary candy. So make sure to take it off the heat before it gets too thick.
Here is how to test if the Jelly is done:
Cool a plate in the fridge. After the rolling boil time of the jelly, remove pan off the heat, and take a spoon of jelly/jam/preserve & place on the cold plate. Leave for about 1/2 min; run your finger through it; if it wrinkles, it has set, but if it runs down, you will need to boil for longer.
The above picture shows that it is done. ( Can you see the ginger & the black pepper?)
How to Can Jam/Jelly Preserves:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and sterilize jars and lids, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the jars and lids in the hot water until you’re ready to use them.
Spoon the jam/jelly/preserve into the sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Cover with the lid and fasten it tight.
To complete the seal of the lid for storing, bring the large pot of water to a boil, place the covered jar(s) in a pasta colander/drainer and place them in the pot. Make sure the boiling water covers the jars. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Remove the jars from the pan and set aside to cool. After half an hour check the lids to make sure they have sealed tightly. Press down in the center of the lid; if it does not spring back, you have a tight seal.
Enjoy this spicy & zesty jelly with some fresh English Muffins, Biscuits or Toast.
Since I have used black pepper & ginger in this jelly, it did get a little spicy; the kind of an after taste at the back of the mouth & I love that. The spice also makes the jelly zesty enough to be used with cheese. Serve it over crackers & cheese & you have a party dish. Here is goes to ITB: Cooking the Month of June, hosted by dear Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie. The ingredients this month are Watermelon & Mint.