Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime and picnics

I grew up in the 1940's during the post depression, WWII era. Even with the turmoil our nation was in, my parents always took time to make sure my 3 brothers and I appreciated the 4th of July holiday and what it stood for.

There was always a picnic with all the goodies. Mom would pack up a scrumptious lunch with Southern fried chicken, roasting ears of corn to cook on the grill, potato salad, coconut cake (my Dad's favorite), and a huge watermelon. Usually we'd head for the Brazos river to spend the day, or sometimes two. Dad and the boys would fish or put out set lines for catfish. When we stayed for a couple of days, Mom would cook up the catfish and fry potatoes on the campfire. It just didn't get any better than that.

One thing I especially remember is, when we ate the watermelon, Mom would always collect the rind and put it in the cooler to take home. We were taught to use everything that was provided and not to waste. After we got home, Mom would use the rind of the watermelon to make Watermelon Pickles. We enjoyed our 4th of July bounty into the winter.

Watermelon Pickles
The rind of one large watermelon.
Peel and remove all green and pink portions from the rind.
Cut into one inch cubes and soak overnight in salt water (4 tablespoons of salt to 1 quart of water)
Drain and cover with fresh water aand cook until almost tender

Drain the watermelon and make a syrup of:
8 Cups sugar
4 cups vinegar
8 teaspoons whole cloves
16 sticks of cinnamon
1teaspoon mustard seed
(Tie the spices in a cheesecloth bag)

Heat the syrup and spices to boiling and allow to set for 15 minutes.
Add the drained rind and cook until rind is transparent.
A few minutes befor boiling time is up, you may add enough red or green food coloring to give the desired color to the pickles. This is optional, Mom never did, so I never do. Pack into hot sterilized canning jars to within 1/2" of top. Put on cap and screw band firmly tight. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes. Should yield 6 pints.

Adding the red or green food color could make a festive touch to serve at Christmastime. You would still be enjoying the 4th of July holiday in December.


Haggis said...

Sadly, I never learned how to can. I loved these things when I was a kid, and later was able to find a reasonable product in the grocery stores. Now, though, it's been years since I've seen any. I'm either going to have to befriend a canner, or learn how to do it myself. :(

Mac said...

Yep. I love 'em too. Soooooo good!