Today is July 1st and along with it being 'Canada Day' I thought it would be appropriate to write about a food that's been associated with summer no matter what part of North America you're in! We all have memories of attending summertime picnics or family gatherings where watermelon was served. Sometimes it is served simply sliced in wedges and then there are those among us who get creative with this large melon just begging to be carved into something cute and adorable. Those who create these watermelon centerpieces clearly are not concerned with their laundry that is piling up!
According to Barron's "Food Lover's Companion", watermelon is native to Africa and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. America's most popular shape is the elongated oval and can weigh from 15-35 pounds. Those larger melons do make the best centerpieces! If you're interested in reading all about picnic history (and who wouldn't be?) check out my favorite food history site for their page about the history of picnics along with sample menus! http://foodtimeline.org/foodpicnics.html#picnicmenus
But what did our great-grandparents do with all the leftover melon rinds? Did they throw them in the trash or throw them out in the woods after a picnic like we tend to do? Of course not! For today's post I dragged out some recipes much older than the ones I've been writing about recently. This recipe is handwritten with ink that has faded to a delicate brown color on a very frail index card. I believe this recipe dates back to around 1910 and when you read the directions, you'll see why. So here is a real blast from the past! Apparently, this vintage recipe is a classic American delicacy...what are you waiting for?
PRESERVED MELON RINDS
Remove all the red from inside and pare off the outer green skin. Cut the rinds into different shapes, simmer them in water to which a little alum and a few vine leaves have been added, which will give a green tint, and when tender enough to be pierced by a knitting needle easily, drain and simmer until done through and transparent. Make the syrup by dissolving one cup of sugar to a pint of water. When the preserves are done, boil the syrup down, and add the rinds just before taking from the fire. Can as usual.
You've got to be kidding me! I underlined the parts of the recipe that I thought were especially fun. Of course you have knitting needles at the ready and you know how to cook over a fire...right? And that last little bit about 'canning as usual', just do what you usually do. Simple. And don't forget to celebrate July 4th!
- Danbury, CT
- I'm a full-time substitute teacher and coordinator of CMT's at a large middle school. Married with two grown sons (both redheads)! I'm not afraid of anything! One son just graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in Journalism - he minored in Cinema Studies. The other just began his freshman year at The University of Hartford where he is a student of the Hartford Art School. We are owned by a smelly, old cat, a frenzied dachshund named Otis and a chinchilla!