The leaves display a hint of yellow and red, the grass is growing lush and green, the tomatoes are turning a deep flavorful red, and you can smell the crispness in the air. We fold up the beach towels and exchange them for lap quilts and a cup of hot cider. We enjoy the last of the s'mores in anticipation of apple crisp and zucchini bread. Sadly we say goodbye to all the delicious fresh fruits of summer and begin to experience the bounty of canning. While we can't hold on to our summer days, there is a treat we can make that will take you back to those water side BB Q's in an instant. It hints at times gone by and boasts of our grandmothers ambitions along with a swift kick of cinnamon. For those who left nothing to waste and taught us to preserve everything for harder times, who instilled in us a desire to share from our own bounties and blessings, and brought joy to the kitchen, this one is for you.
Cinnamon Watermelon Rind Pickles
16 c. sliced peeled watermelon rind (sliced about 1 inch by 2)
1 c. pickling or canning salt
8 c. cool water
6 c. sugar
4 c. white vinegar
3 cinnamon sticks broken in half
In a large crock, glass bowl, or stainless steel bowl, layer watermelon rind and salt. Add 4 cups of the cold water. Place a large clean inverted plate on top of the rind and weigh down with two or three quart jars filled with water. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Rinse the rind with cool water thoroughly.
In a large saucepan, combine rind with the remaining 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil over med. high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently until the rind is fork tender. About 10 mins. Drain and set aside.
In a large clean saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon stick halves. Bring to a boil over med. high heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes, until cinnamon has infused the liquid. Add drained rind and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally for 1 hour or till the watermelon is translucent. Discard cinnamon.
Pack hot rind into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover rind, leaving 1/2 inch head space again. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims, put on hot lids, and screw bands on to finger tip tight.
Process in hot water bath for 10 mins.
The look beautiful when they are done. Holler if you have and questions that pop up along your watermelon adventures.