Summer brings so much sweet fruit, including watermelon, and Charlotte Fresh can’t get her fill. Unfortunately she has to eat small watermelons because hubby isn’t a huge fan. Here’s a look at my latest victim, a three-pounder from Big Oak Natural Farm:
One thing that I hate is waste. And one thing I love is a new project. When I get a watermelon, I carve it up and put the pieces into containers in the fridge so I can have an easy snack later. That always leaves behind a lot of rind that goes into the compost ditch – or not. (Beauty tip: one of my aunts likes to rub the fleshy sides of the rinds on her face as an astringent. I don’t know if it works, but I admit that she has nice skin.) Anyway, I decided to see if I could use the watermelon rind to make something yummy, and came up with a watermelon rind candy that is reminiscent of the candied citrus peels that I make for the Holidays. Shocker – even hubby likes it!
Fresh Recipe: Watermelon Rind Candy
This recipe takes quite a few hours, so set aside a good block of time – maybe 5 hours, or do it across two days. It’s time consuming, but worth it! The candy will be a little salty-sweet, so if you like less salty, cut down on the salt by 1 Tbs.
Yields about 2 1/2 cups of candy, depending on the size of the melon.
- 1 small watermelon, about 3 pounds, washed
- 2 Tbs coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 C granulated sugar, plus more for coating
- 2 C water, plus more for cooking
- 2-3 sprigs fresh mint leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh lime basil leaves, or sub regular basil plus 1 Tbs lime zest
Cut the watermelon into 4 to 6 wedges. Remove the pink flesh and set aside for eating later.
Take each rind wedge and scrape as much pink flesh away from the white as possible. (A grapefruit knife works as a nice tool for this.) Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the green outer skin. You’ll be left with the white part of the rind. Cut into little sticks or chunks.
Place all the cut white rinds into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes. A pink-orange foam will float to the surface. Drain and rinse the rinds.
Clean out the saucepan. Place the rinds back in the pan and cover with water. Add the 2 Tbs salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse. (At this point, you can leave in the salt brine overnight if you wish and drain and continue the next day. The longer you leave it in the brine, the saltier the candy will be.)
Clean out the saucepan. Dissolve 2 C sugar in 2 C water, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the mint and basil. Add the rinds. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until softened, but still firm. Drain the rinds from the syrup, reserving the syrup for other uses if you wish.
Line a baking sheet with parchment, and sprinkle sugar over the parchment. Scatter the drained rinds across the sugar. Dry in a 250 degree oven (stirring occasionally) for about 2 hours, or until they are slighty tacky on the outside and hold their shape. Cool partly and roll in sugar to coat. Store finished candy in a jar of sugar.