Have you ever come across a recipe so unique and intriguing that you just had to run out and get everything you'd need to give it a try? Well, when Stef from Cupcake Project was searching for the best way to get the flavor of watermelon into a cupcake, her friend Marissa from Food in Jars got to work and came up with a watermelon jelly. Watermelon jelly say what? I had to try it. The ingredients were simple, and I always have watermelon within reach during the summer, so I ran home cut one up into chunks and got to work. I followed the recipe to the letter, but even two days later the contents of my jars still resembled more of a runny sauce then a nice thick jam or jelly. I think I got a bit nervous at the smell the jam was taking on and I may have not cooked it as long as I should have.
Once I was sure that it just will not set no matter how long I waited, I reopened all the jars and dumped everything back into the pot. I added a bit more lemon juice to try and cut the sweetness and boost up the pectin, and recooked the mess to 215F again, letting it boil for a bit longer then I was strictly comfortable with, but this time everything came out great! The jam set and I had 7 shiny jars of lovely jelly tasting quite strongly of watermelon. I'm already plotting "I know what you did last summer" desserts to make with it, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that my jam exchange partner will like it too.
adapted from Food in Jars
makes about 7 eight ounce jars
6 cups pureed watermelon (remove any seeds prior to pureeing)
5 cups white sugar (I think next time I'd add 4 or less)
1/2 cup bottled or fresh lemon juice
1 packet powdered pectin
Combine watermelon puree, sugar and lemon juice in a large, non-reactive pot (anything but aluminum). Get one bigger than you think, you'll want plenty of space for things to foam up without overflowing. Bring to a boil and let it boil vigorously until the temperature of mixture reaches 220 degrees. Be sure to stir frequently, you don't want it to burn on the bottom. Add the powdered pectin and boil for another five minutes.
Remove from the heat and pour into clean, sterilized jars, leaving about a half inch of headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
When time is up, remove from canner and let jars cool completely, preferably overnight. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. You can eat immediately or store unopened jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Print up some pretty labels (I used the template from here found at this cool site) and start scheming.