Capture the best of summer’s produce with these recipes and a little help from Sarah Owens, gardening guru and author of Toast & Jam. Read more about Sarah and her book, here.
- Watermelon Jelly
This firm, bubble gum–pink jelly is summer on a spoon. Break open a jar of this in midwinter when sweaty nights and sexy beach picnics seem desperately distant.
Makes 4 cups
- 4 cups (915 grams) watermelon purée, strained (from a small, 2,000-gram [4½-pound] melon)
- 1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons (50 grams) low-/no-sugar pectin
- ⅓ cup (75 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) white vinegar
- Place a plate in the freezer for the set test and sterilize your jars.
- Place the watermelon purée in a large saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat, about 10 minutes. The solids will float to the top; do not skim them away at this time.
- Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in 1¼ cups of the sugar until it is completely dissolved. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and the pectin; set aside.
- Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Sprinkle in the pectin and sugar mixture, being careful not to add too much at once, as this may cause clumping. Stir to combine and return the mixture to a vigorous boil over high heat. Cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, then test for a set, using the chilled plate.
- When the jelly reaches a setting point, ladle it into the hot, drained, sterilized jars. Wipe the rims, position the lids and rings, and heat process for 5 minutes.
2. Cardamom Pickled Watermelon Rind
I like preparing Watermelon Jelly and this recipe within the same weekend, as you can make use of almost the whole melon with minimal food waste.
Cardamom Pickled Watermelon Rind
Makes 2 quarts
- For the Pickles:
- 5 cups (1,130 grams) water (100°F/38°C)
- ⅓ cup (90 grams) fine sea salt
- 6 cups (740 grams) chopped watermelon rind (see Kitchen Note)
- 6 green cardamom pods, split
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
- 2 teaspoons whole pink peppercorns, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
- 1 small lime (60 grams), thinly sliced
- 2 plump garlic cloves (15 grams), peeled and halved
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 to 3 fresh chiles of your choice, halved with seeds (habanero, jalapeño, etc.)
- For the Brine:
- 1½ cups (340 grams) water
- 1¼ cups (280 grams) white or rice vinegar
- ½ cup (170 grams) mild honey
- 1½ teaspoons (8 grams) fine sea salt
- In a large bowl, stir together the water and salt until the salt is completely dissolved. Transfer the chopped watermelon rind to the bowl; cover and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
- Sterilize your jars.
- Rinse the watermelon rind under cold running water and drain it well in a colander. In a large saucepan, prepare the brine by stirring together the water, vinegar, honey, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, add the drained watermelon rind to the pot, and return the mixture to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that may form on the surface.
- Sprinkle in a few teaspoons of the spices in the bottom of each hot, drained, sterilized jar. Remove the pot from the heat and use a ladle to pack the watermelon rind into the jars, alternating with the lime, garlic, ginger, chiles, and remaining spices. Pour the brine into the jars, leaving about ¼ inch of headspace. Run a clean spoon down the side of the jars to release any trapped air bubbles. Position the lids and cool to room temperature. Store the watermelon pickles in sealed jars in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
To prepare the rind, cut away the inner red flesh for eating or making into Watermelon Jelly. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the green outer skin, and cut the white flesh into consistently sized chunks, about 1 inch or to your preference. If you prefer a fancier pickle, try cutting them into fun shapes using a fluted knife or small cookie cutter.
This large round loaf has delicious flavor, especially if made with fresh, stone-ground wheat flour. It sports a somewhat tight crumb perfect for jam, without the density of a 100 percent whole wheat bread.
Makes 1 large loaf
- For the Sourdough Leaven:
- 1 tablespoon (25 grams) 100% hydration active sourdough starter, refreshed
- 3 tablespoons (30 grams) water (70°F/21°C)
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon (45 grams) whole wheat flour
- For the Dough:
- 1¾ cups plus 3½ tablespoons (430 grams) water (70°F/21°C)
- 3½ cups (400 grams) Type T-85 wheat flour (high-extraction bread flour)
- ¾ heaping cup (110 grams) strong bread flour
- ⅓ heaping cup (40 grams) whole rye flour
- 2 teaspoons (11 grams) fine sea salt
- In a large bowl, stir together the starter and water to form a slurry. Add the flour and stir to combine; the leaven will be somewhat stiff. Cover with plastic and allow to ferment at room temperature until puffy and aromatic, 8 to 12 hours.
- Combine the water and flours in a medium bowl and mix until the flour is hydrated and no lumps remain. Cover with plastic and allow to autolyze at room temperature for 1 to 2 or up to 4 hours. Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Break the sourdough leaven into small pieces and add it to the dough. Mix with your hands until the leaven is completely incorporated and no visible streaks remain. Cover with plastic and allow to bulk ferment at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours, stretching and folding in the bowl every 30 to 45 minutes.
- When the dough is puffy and increased in volume by about one-third, preshape it into a round boule. Cover with plastic and allow to bench rest for 10 to 30 minutes. Final shape according to your preference and banneton shape and place the dough seam-side up in the well-floured banneton. Cover with a towel and then plastic and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
- Remove your loaf from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for about 1 hour or until it passes the poke test. Preheat a Dutch oven (preferably enamel coated) to 500°F (260°C) on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle a touch of cornmeal onto a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the Dutch oven and carefully flip your loaf onto it, seam-side down. Score the top of the loaf about ¼ to ½ inch deep with a razor blade or lame. Carefully lower the parchment paper and loaf into the preheated Dutch oven, position the lid, and return it to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 480°F (249°C) and bake with the lid on for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 12 to 20 minutes or until the crust is brown.
I prefer my bottom crust to be as thick and dark as possible, but if you are using a non-enameled cast-iron pot, you will need to tip the loaf out of the Dutch oven after about 25 minutes of baking time to prevent the bottom from burning before the loaf is done. This must be done carefully to avoid burning yourself. Finish baking directly on the middle rack for an additional 12 to 20 minutes.
Where have I been? Having pickled and jammed along with bread making, I was intrigued with the Watermelon Pickle. So different from the usual sickly sweet recipes for watermelon, I would certainly enjoy your pickle. I make pickled fresh turnips and cauliflower but need a break from the taste. Hmmm, coriander. Let me at it.