June 18, 2012 § 16 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.