Today’s update 06/29/2011


Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 29-06-2011

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small watermelon

Davis and I spent a hour in the garden this morning.  It took us about 10 minutes to approach the heat exhaustion point.  We planted the rest of the corn (Golden Queen) and planted winter acorn squash amongst them like the American Indians used to do.  I will plant pole beans in there once the corn comes up and gets a  little height.  we then went to the berries and Davis tied them while I hoed the edges to drive back the crab grass.  I will try to mow the edges with the mower later today or tomorrow.  We also moved many of the melon vines back into the melon bed.  At this point, we were about to start speaking in indecipherable tongues, so we called it a morning.  Davis and Kathy leave for a months vacation on Friday and we will miss them as they  do so much in the garden and have become good friends.  Chris is also getting ready to leave for a while which leaves Peggy and me to take care of the garden in the heat of the Summer.  I believe that the garden will continue to produce with attention as the rotation plantings are doing well.  I am about to attach the crabgrass between the beds with a herbicide and mow all other open areas.  But we need additional help.  My solution is to ask another neighbor to join us.  I think the perfect person is Terry who is a vegetarian and  likes to work.  My reasoning is that he will most likely accept as he is alone (will not harvest much for himself) and is sometimes bored and his diet is vegetables and fruits.  I ran this by Davis this morning and he was in agreement but I need to get everyone’s input.  I like Terry and find him very interesting and always open to new things.  Give me some feedback via email.

Several of us have test harvested the small watermelons that are turning yellow as described on the seed package as indicating that the melon was ready to pick.  I found one today that was split open due to the excess rain we have had the past few days and it was red with black seeds.  Chris had picked one earlier and reported that it was not ready.  I think Kathy did also.  I decided to harvest several of the yellow melons ( 7) ranging from 3 to 6 inches across.  These are small personal heirloom melons that I ordered from The Seed Saver site.  I have opened the larger of them (Davis took two medium sized melons home with him) and found it to be pink – not as red as I would have liked to see but with many black seeds so I will leave them on the vine a little longer.  I did add Splenda to the one I opened and it tasted very much like a ripe watermelon.  The texture of the “meat” was very smooth, unlike the fibrous  interior of regular larger melons.  The rind is thin and very yellow.  It would be a shame to discard these melons  so I am going to make watermelon pickles.  I have searched the web and found a blog (The Wilderness Childe) by Diana Renata where she includes the recipe below which I will use.  I will give everyone a report on how good they turned out.  Who knows – might even share.

Watermelon Pickles

I’ve sort of been on this pickling kick lately. Eggs mostly, but we had a delicous watermelon salad the other day and I decided I wanted to play with making pickled watermelon rind. It always sort of seemed interesting, not to mention I like trying “different” foods, and it takes advantage of my scavenger tendencies.

There were a few problems finding the right pickle recipe. First, it had to include ingredients I actually have in the house, or at least something close. Second, I didn’t want it loaded with sugar. Most of the pickled watermelon recipes I found were extremely sugary.

After a great deal of searching I found a do-able recipe. It does have a lot of sugar in it, so I decided to cut the sugar in half and see what happens. I’m thinking I want to try this recipe later with apples. Pickled apples might make a nice Christmas gift.

Watermelon Pickles

2 lbs. Prepared watermelon rind
1/2 cup salt
2 qts. water
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
5 pieces (2 in. each) stick cinnamon
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
1 lb. sugar

Pare the watermelon rind, removing all green and pink portions and cut into bite-size pieces.

Prepare a brine of the salt and 2 quarts water; pour over rind. Cover and let stand overnight.

Drain the rind and cover with fresh water and cook until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and let stand several hours, then drain.

In a sauce pan combine your pickling ingredients and bring to boiling, cooking about 5 minutes. Add the drained watermelon rind and cook gently until rind is clear and transparent.

Pack pickles into hot sterilized jars; cover with boiling syrup, leaving headspace. I sort of picked out most of the spices and cinnamon stick with a little extra syrup for a later batch. I allowed a few allspice berries and cloves into the jars, mostly because it looks pretty that way.

Remove air bubbles and seal.

Voila! Watermelon pickles!

This is a really good way to make the most out of your summer produce. No sense throwing away perfectly useable food, right? I’m sure you can use different spices and vinegars, depending on what flavor you’re looking for. Balsamic vinegar might be tasty, or red wine vinegar which would add a lovely pink color. Beets would definitely add some nice color to the pickles, as they do with eggs. So many ideas, so little time…

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