Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's a heaven for?

To play on the aphorism-- a gardener's harvest should exceed her shelf space, or what's a basement for?

I have upwards of 30 pounds of winter melon that needs to be preserved. No matter how long it will keep in the shell, once I cut one I have to preserve it, because each one is way too big for two people to consume in a single meal, even with leftovers. Here's the first of a whole bunch of winter melon recipes:

Candied Winter Melon
5 pound winter melon
3 cups sugar
juice of two lemons
Remove the outer green skin of the winter melon and cut into finger length sticks just like french fries.

Blanch melon fingers by putting into a pot of fresh water with 1 tsp of baking soda, and bring to a rapid boil for 3 minutes. Transfer the melon to a colander to drain.

Heat the sugar and lemon juice in 1 1/4 quarts of water in a shallow pan until dissolved. Bring the syrup to the boil. Turn down heat to low. Transfer the drained melon to the pot of syrup. Make sure to completely immerse the fruit in the syrup. Bring the syrup slowly to a simmer and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes; do not let it boil.

At this point you have two options- store in the syrup, using heat canning, or drain and dry. For heat canning, transfer the hot syrup and melon into heated jars and follow standard procedure for heat canning. For drying, allow fruit to cool to room temperature. Do not drain. Leave it in the syrup for 24 hours whilst leaving the fruit undisturbed. Then, carefully lift the fruit from the syrup and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Transfer melons to wax paper or parchment and leave until dry, then store in an airtight container.


  1. Oh this sounds tasty! Is it anything like pickled watermelon rinds?

  2. This is very sweet (in fact I think next batch I'll use more sugar) and used mostly for pastry fillings, although I'm thinking about maybe trying it as part of the liquid ingredient in cupcakes.