I can now check off another item from my list of "Things to do Before I Die" because today I canned.
I have been wanting to try to can for years. Thanks to my friends in the Motherhood Later group on Ravelry I have finally done it. We set a date and a total of four of us were in our respective kitchens today all doing the same thing; one in NY, one in Canada, one in KY and me in IL. Cool, huh?
I decided on Watermelon Rind Pickles - never heard of them? Well, the recipe was in my copy of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving so it must be a legit recipe. My Grandma also used to make them so I thought it would be neat for this recipe to be the one I use for my first try at canning. OK - I'll confess, it was also because if I messed up the entire job I wouldn't have to think about throwing away a bunch of expensive produce - we'd have just tossed the rinds in the composter anyways.
First, my girl and I got the watermelon ready. It was an average sized seedless watermelon. We were looking for 16 cups of rinds and I assumed one watermelon would do it.
NOTE: There should be a picture here but *%5E@%5E$* Blogger is making me insane so you'll have to use you imagination. Sorry.
It looked great - perfectly ripe and delicious inside. But man, it had skimpy rinds - I couldn't believe how thin they were. How was I supposed to get 16 cups of rinds from this melon? I remember as a kid having big chunky rinds after eating watermelon. I think those were the old-fashioned seeded watermelons. Those big, oblong-shaped suckers.
So my girl scooped out the melon and I peeled the rinds, cut them up and put them in salted water for their overnight soak.
This morning we rinsed 'em, drained 'em and boiled them in a syrup of vinegar, sugar and cinnamon sticks.
Since I only had 8 cups of rinds I made a half recipe - three pint jars.
NOTE: Imagine picture here - again thanks to the idiocy that is Blogger
The jars looked so small and lonely in my new, giant 21-quart canner. But it worked, the lids seemed to have sealed properly and maybe I'll open one up for Thanksgiving.