Watermelon brings me back to my childhood days in Washington state. I have vivid memories of digging a “safe hole” in a cold mountain stream, placing the family watermelon in the protected area to chill, and then playing and splashing in the river until it was cold. When I eat this jam, I remember the same taste many years ago while I sat on the river’s edge spitting seeds as far as they would go.
Recently, I shared my love of watermelon with my grandkids by making watermelon jam. It was a hit even though there weren’t any seeds to spit. The leftover watermelon was fun to eat with crackers and cheese that I paired with the jam. Also, by cutting the watermelon into small wedges because of the size of their hands, they were in heaven because it was easy eating.
Historically, watermelons date back as far as 2500 BC as evidenced in ancient hieroglyphics, according to The Spruce Eats. It is most commonly eaten chilled and cut into slices. They are native to Africa and were used as an essential source of hydration in dry areas. Around the thirteenth century, watermelons were brought into Europe. Italians make a watermelon pudding, which includes almonds, chocolate, and cinnamon. A southern favorite in the USA is pickles made from watermelon rind. Russians even make a hearty beer from watermelon.
The health benefits of watermelon are as impressive as its history, and according to webmd.com, the cherry red color comes from lycopene, and antioxidant. Also, studies show that incorporating watermelon into your diet can help curb your risk of cancer and diabetes as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Enjoy this watermelon jam. Its soft flavor is wonderful on crackers paired with cracked pepper and chive cheddar cheese from Heber Valley Artisan Cheese. I prefer a low sugar jam and have used Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which is available at our store and on our website.
- 4 cups watermelon puree (use a seedless watermelon or see step 3 below)
- 4 teaspoons calcium water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (or up to 2 cups) granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Wash jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner and fill canner 2/3 full with water. Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and keep jars in hot canner water until ready to use.
- Place lids in water in a small saucepan. Cover and heat to a low boil. Remove from heat and keep lids in hot water until ready to use.
- If your watermelon is seedless, puree fruit to a pulp in a blender or food processor. If your watermelon has seeds, remove seeds prior to pureeing and then puree fruit into a pulp in a blender.
- Measure puree into a saucepan. Add calcium water and lemon juice. Mix well.
- Measure sugar into a bowl and thoroughly mix pectin powder into sugar. Set aside.
- Bring fruit to a full boil. Add pectin/sugar mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
- Stir in the almond extract.
- Fill hot jars to 1/4-inch from the top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-peice lids. Put filled jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level.) Remove from water and let the jars cool. Check seals; lids should be sucked down.
- Eat within 1 year and it will last 3 weeks once it’s opened.
Recipe adapted from Pomona’s Universal Pectin Watermelon Jam.