Watermelon Jam

June 18, 2012 § 11 Comments

I love watermelon. I could eat a lot in one sitting. Like, a lot. But I had an entire large watermelon that I got for another project (stay tuned) and Lester and I had enough to eat plenty, make a giant watermelon-feta-arugula salad for a party, and still have a ton left.

Therefore, watermelon jam. Who knew? I got the idea from Food in Jars but this recipe is adapted from the Heirloom Watermelon Jelly from Put ‘Em Up. I picked this recipe because it had the least sugar of any I found, and I like watermelons but not watermelon Jolly Ranchers…and I am now officially in love with Pomona’s Universal Pectin. First off, it has an awesomely old-timey name. More importantly, it lets you use smaller amounts of sugar than for other jams and jellies, and you don’t cook the jam for very long at all, so I think in this recipe it lets the freshness of the watermelon really shine through. I don’t own Put ‘Em Up (yet!) but fortunately Google Books has this recipe as part of the free excerpt, so head on over there and check it out. I made a few adaptations, below.

flesh of less than half of a 12-15″ spherical watermelon = 4 cups puree*
1/2 cup bottled lime juice (the original used lemon, but for bottled the acidity is interchangeable)
1 cup sugar
2 T Pomona pectin
2 T calcium water from the Pomona box
a little butter to prevent foaming

*I pureed the watermelon in my Ninja blender (love that thing) then ran it through my food mill – thanks Mom! – to remove the seeds and get a smoother puree. I did not strain it further, and I like the opacity and texture of the end result. Make popsicles with any leftover watermelon puree, except the amount you drink with a little vodka and grapefruit seltzer while doing the following:

1. Mix the pectin and sugar well in a separate bowl.
2. Bring puree to a boil in a large pan.
3. Add lime juice, calcium water, and butter.
4. Add the pectin-sugar mix in a slow stream to the boiling puree, stirring constantly. I had a fair amount of pectin clumps (didn’t follow my own step 1) but I was able to break up most of them with the back of the mixing spoon.
5. Bring back to a boil, then turn off the heat and let it sit for five minutes, skimming the foam occasionally.
6. Fill prepared jars with 1/4 inch headspace and process for 10 minutes.

The original says it makes about 4 cups. Mine filled 5 half-pints (5 cups) plus enough for my toast the next morning.

The result? Unexpectedly amazing. It was light, sweet-tart, and the perfect soft spreadable texture. I might even put in more lime next time, but it’s pretty perfect as is.

Serving suggestion: for breakfast on the back porch listening to the birds and getting a little bit of sun so that even if you have to go in to work on a weekend, it is still a good day.

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§ 11 Responses to Watermelon Jam

  • [...] More watermelon-feta-arugula salad. Somehow there is still more watermelon. [...]

  • Sarah Lowe says:

    This sounds fantastic! How much butter is a little? :)

  • lauramarasco says:

    Two tablespoons seems like a LOT of pomona’s pectin – do you think I could use less? I saw another recipe that used 2c sugar and 2tsp pp – do you think splitting the difference would work? Thanks!

    • Miya says:

      Hi Laura! I got that proportion from “Put ‘Em Up” and it seemed to work well for me. I can’t really predict how it would turn out with less since I’m pretty new to this, but I’d say give it a try. If you aren’t happy with the set, you can always re-boil it with more pectin (I think you can still do this with Pomona’s though I’m not 100% sure), or you can label it watermelon sauce and nobody will say a word! (I’m not trying to be cheeky. I have a whole batch of habanero apricot… glaze… in my pantry at the moment.) You could also do a test batch with just a little of your puree and see how it turns out. Let me know what you discover!

  • lauramarasco says:

    Thanks – will let you know how it goes……was actually trying to be stingy with my pectin because I have to do a reset with my pepper jelly (glaze) that the nice people at Pomona’s told me how to and I will be a bit short for the watermelon jelly. I am pretty new to this too – fridge pickling for a while & just started (pepper jelly was try number two) canning.

  • Rose says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • Elsa says:

    Do you think that I could use honey or stevia in place of the sugar? If so do you have any idea about how much to use? i will go and peruse Pomona’s recipes to hopefully get an idea, but I thought that I would ask anyway.

    • Miya says:

      Oops, sorry I took so long to respond! I am sure you could substitute either but I do not know the proportions… Pomona’s packaging has useful information about non-sugar sweeteners so I agree that’s the best place to start.

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