From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...My fondness for watermelon jelly beans will be my downfall. I love their flavor and came to the conclusion that a watermelon-flavored jelly would also be delicious and make a fantastic toast topper. The only problem with that conclusion was the jelly is not available locally, and if I wanted a jar of it, I would have to make it myself. I've resisted doing that because this is a tricky jelly to get right, and making it is far more involved than putting-by the freezer jams I love so much. Here the ingredients must be mixed and boiled and then processed in jars that are submerged in a boiling water bath. That means special canning equipment is necessary and that jars and lids must be sterilized before the jelly can be processed. Simply stated it is a bother to make. I also hesitated because this jelly has a fairly high failure rate and can be hard to set or gel. The amount of water in a melon is variable and sometimes the initial addition of pectin is not sufficient to set the jelly. The other problem with this particular jelly is the smell watermelon makes when it is heated. It stinks. Fortunately, the odor does not affect the finished product. The jelly retains a watermelon flavor, and, while it is very sweet, it really does make a lovely toast topper. I doubt this will become a regular entry in your summer canning schedule, but you might want to try it for its novelty. Here's a small batch recipe.
Watermelon Jelly...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Bert's Cannery
2 cups seeded, diced watermelon
3-1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 package powdered fruit pectin
1) Place diced watermelon in jar of an electric blender and puree until completely smooth. You should have 2 cups of puree. If you wish a clearer jelly, strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth or use a jelly bag.
2) Combine watermelon puree, sugar and lemon juice in a 6 to 8-quart heavy bottomed pan. Over high heat, bring mixture to a rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down), stirring constantly. Stir in pectin all at once and return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Skim foam from surface of jelly.
3) Ladle jelly into clean hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely away from drafts, then store in cool, dark place. Makes 4 half-pints.
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