My first canning results in watermelon jelly!

So you may have gathered from my previous post that this week we ordered some local produce from Greenling, a grocery delivery service here in Austin. We ordered from Greenling so that I could get a local watermelon because I LOVE watermelon. Especially juicy ripe watermelon which is what I figured I would get from Greenling.

Unfortunately, my watermelon turned out to be light pink when I cut it open and seems to be no where near ripe 😦  Sad for me, big time.

I used about half the watermelon making watermelon jelly, a recipe I saw on the Greenling blog. Hopefully it turns out tasty with underripe melon.

I got all my supplies for canning and started the process.

Melon, lemons, sugar, pectin, jars, and cheesecloth:

I then chopped up about half of the melon and pureed it in the food processor. The pulp was strained through some cheesecloth to get the juice:

While that drained, I went about the process of sterilizing the jars. This was my first canning experience and I think an extra pair of hands would have been handy.

First the jars, lid, and rings were washed in hot soapy water. Next, the jars went into a pot of boiling water, the rings into a separate pot, and the lids into a bowl and had boiling water poured over them. After the jars were done boiling, they went into the oven set to 200 degrees so that they stayed clean.

Sterilizing the jars:

After the watermelon was done draining and I had squeezed all of the juice out of the pulp, I added lemon juice and pectin and brought it to rolling boil. Next, the 6 (!) cups of sugar were added and the mixture brought back to a rolling boil for one minute:

The next part was the messy part. I had to ladle the watermelon mixture into the clean jars. It was not pretty. The instructions said to wipe off the jar threads and rim which made sense as I spilled the mixture all over them. Putting the hot rings on the hot jars was also an adventure. I just hope the jelly wasn’t contaminated. After the jars were assembled, I placed them in the boiling water to process for 5 minutes. Luckily my husband had a set of jar tongs specially designed for canning, so I used them to remove the jars when they were done.

I ended up with 3 pint jars, all properly sealed. Let’s hope the jelly is good!

Making a summer cocktail

I guess it’s not officially summer yet, but in Texas it feels like it’s been summer for months. You may remember the vodka infusions I made recently.

I finally got to try the watermelon rosemary infusion and I must say, it was delicious. I used the Rosebud recipe from Kitchen Konfidence.  It was fun to muddle the watermelon with the crushed ice:

I used rosemary sprigs from the gigantic rosemary bush in the backyard. Rosemary grows like crazy in Texas:

Yum! I recommend seedless watermelons if you can. I still had to strain out the little seeds from the glasses.

Vodka infusions!

So it may or may not be a surprise to you that vodka is my favorite alcohol to add to drinks. I love my Bloody Marys, the spicier the better, and my drink is not completed until it’s garnished with home-pickled green beans!

When someone first sent me vodka infusion recipes on Kitchen Konfidence I just knew I had to make the infusions at some point. Now that we’ve skipped spring in Texas and are straight into hot summer weather I decided it was time. I selected the Watermelon Rosemary infusion because I love watermelon. While I don’t really like grapefruit, I had to try the Grapefruit Tarragon infusion because of the drink it was featured in – a Salted Tarragon Greyhound. Not only is it a beautiful looking drink, it’s also a bit salty and it’s named after a dog! Some people even think my mutt is part greyhound (she’s not, she’s too slow). Soon I hope to enjoy the Watermelon Rosemary vodka in the Rosebud recipe as well.  I’ll have to get the ingredients to mix the drinks this weekend.

Anyhow, here was my experience making the infusions.

Slicing up the grapefruit. Such a pretty fruit but such a gross taste to me! Notice the bottle of Tito’s in the background. It’s my favorite vodka AND it’s local. Win!

The first step was to put the fruit in the vodka and let it infuse for four days. Somehow I lost those pictures, but after four days you add the herbs.  Here’s the grapefruit with the tarragon:

And the watermelon with rosemary from my giant rosemary bush in the garden:

Those mixtures sat for two more days and tonight I strained them using a fine mesh strainer. I tried to get a decent amount of the liquid out of the fruit.

The finished product! The grapefruit infusion is on the left and watermelon on the right. Can’t wait for a delicious drink!