Ta Ta For Now.....
With Summer in the rear view lm hell bent of saving a little of whats left for my somber transition into Fall. l cant say lm big when it comes to pickling/preserving - although have fond memories of my Mum sending us all on our annual mission to the end of the garden with pail in hands ready to load-up with gooseberries, black/red currants, raspberries any kind of berry...you name it. The trick was not to fall into the nearby nettles and get stung...or the darker side of this competitive fruit picking - be pushed by my disgruntled brother if l recall one or two times).
While back in the kitchen Mum (jolly apron on) would be sterilizing the jars, hunting down the large black pot from storage .....likely under a mountain of christmas ornaments.... and out with what looked like an ancient wooden spoon brightly stained with past years preserving efforts . Personally my favourite job would be topping each jar with a little parchment disc before sealing the top and away in the cupboard to make rich sticky jam (which typically was smothered on my Mums Saturday afternoon fresh baked bread), or fillings for pies winter months.
Not quite ready to go the jam route, l figured l would start off easy. Having heard of pickling watermelon rinds which is typically heard of from down south, l wanted to give it a go and see what this southern treat had to offer.
My pickled Watermelon Rinds with Ginger, Cinnamon, and Star Anise
4 Cups watermelon rinds, cut into 4 inch cubes
1 !/4 cup sugar
3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
2-3 Star anise (depending on how much you like anise)
1/2 lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks
Lemon rind from 1/2 lemon
1. Pop everything into a large pan with enough water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer uncovered for around 45 minutes. Strain the watermelon -- reserving the juice. Pop the juice back into the pan boil until glossy and thick - should take around 15 minutes.
2. With a pickling jar at the ready, spoon the mixture into the jar along with the syrup. Let it cool then into the fridge for up to a month.
Smashing along side some cheese/cured meats, pop it into a salad, or even in a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Sunday roast wouldn't go a miss too!
l had fun making it, loved how easy it was, and it brought back the pickling days with Mum way back when. Ta Ta For Now watermelon...