If you want the taste of watermelon to last throughout the rest of the year, this watermelon jelly is a great way to do it. This is a fairly simple canning recipe, that makes 4 (8 oz) jars of jelly.
Step 1: Ingredients
4 half pint (8 oz) mason jars
4 c. watermelon
3 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 pkg fruit pectin (the kind without sugar)
Other things you will need
a pot large enough to hold your jelly mixture
-- and either --
a canning processor
a large pot (for your jars), a small pot (for your jar lids), and a way to remove your jars from boiling water.
Step 2: Prep Work
Chop up your watermelon, and blend it well.
Strain out all the pulp (you can leave the pulp in if you would rather make preserves)
You should end up with about 2 cups of liquid. If you have more or less, adjust your quantity to about 2 cups (or your jelly may be too thick/thin)
Mix your fruit pectin with 1/2 cup of your sugar. This helps to keep the pectin from clumping when added to the watermelon.
Step 3: Making the Jelly
(while waiting for your mixture to boil, prep your jars - see next steps)
Pour your watermelon into a pot. Add the fruit pectin mixture. Stir well.
Cook over medium-high heat, making sure to stir frequently to prevent any burning.
Bring the mixture to a full boil.
Now, add the rest of the sugar. Bring it back up to a full boil, and boil for 1 minute.
Step 4: Getting Your Jars Ready
If you have a canning processor, you can probably take it from here.
But, for those of us that do not, put your super clean mason jars in a large pot, and add water until it reaches the half-way point on the jars. Bring to a boil (this needs to be boiling before your jelly is ready to be added)
In a small pot, add your lids (rings and tops) and cover with water. Bring this to a boil as well. (also needs to be boiling before adding your jelly to the jars)
This recipe will fill 4 jars. I have 5 in my pot because I almost always manage to knock one over.
Step 5: Moving the Jelly to the Jars
Once your jelly mixture is ready to be added, fill each jar to 1/4 inch from the top. Careful not to overflow the jars.
If any jelly has gotten on the rim of the jar, wipe it off with a damp towel.
Add the lid and ring - making sure the ring is tightened. This can be a bit tricky, just be careful not to burn yourself. (they sell rubber tongs and things specifically for canning - if you plan to do this a lot, they are absolutely a worthwhile purchase.)
Let these boil for 10 minutes without touching them.
After the 10 minutes is up, carefully remove them from the water. Try not to jostle them too much.
Stick them in a corner of the kitchen where they will be left alone overnight. (they have to be able to cool completely!) Try to keep them away from drafts - also, don't shake or move them around. Any outside disturbances will effect the way the jelly sets. I like to set mine on a towel to protect the counter from any heat / excess water.
Step 6: Are You Jelly Yet?
I imagine this jelly probably could be used in some really creative ways, but I love it just on toast with cream cheese.
Some notes on canning:
- To make sure that your canning has been successful (that it's properly sealed) - gently press on the middle of the lid. If it moves, or sounds like it's pressing out air, the jar hasn't been processed correctly. This doesn't mean that the jelly is bad - just that it can't be stored. Put the jar in the fridge, and just eat it first =)
- You can remove the jar rings once the jelly has completely cooled. They don't need them anymore - but I leave mine on anyway. (what else am I going to do with them?) - You can add decorative materials under the rings once they've cooled.
- These last up to 6 months. They're safe to eat for a few months after that, but the color starts to get darker and they get runny.