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Home Ec Project: Preserving Melons

You don't often think of using melons, except as a fresh ingredient; however, melons can be preserved in several ways. Here are several projects to try. Don't forget to always complete the canning safety lesson before any food preservation activity.

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Ingredients:
1 (15 to 16 lbs) slightly under-ripe watermelon with thick, firm rind
2 qts cold water mixed with 1/2 cup pickling salt (brine)

SYRUP
4 pounds sugar
1 quart cider vinegar
1 quart water
2 lemons, sliced thin
2 t. whole cloves
2 t. whole allspice
4 sticks cinnamon, broken up

Quarter melon, remove green skin and pink flesh, and cut rind in 1" cubes; measure 4 quarts cubed rind, cover with brine, and soak overnight. Drain rind, rinse with cold water, place in a very large kettle, cover with water, and simmer, covered about 1/2 hour until barely tender and translucent. Meanwhile, prepare syrup. Mix sugar, vinegar, and water in a very large enamel or stainless steel kettle, add lemon and spices, tied in cheesecloth, and slowly boil, uncovered, 20 minutes. Also was and sterilize 4 pint jars and closures. Drain rind, add to syrup, and simmer, uncovered, until rind is clear, about 1/2 hour. Remove spice bag. Using a slotted spoon, pack rind into jars, then pour in boiling syrup, filling to within of tops. Wipe rims and seal. Cool, check seals, label, and store in a cool, dark, dry place for several weeks before serving. Yield: 4 pints.

Fruit Sherbet

Ingredients:
1 env. unflavored gelatin
1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar
dash salt
1/2 c. water
2 c. fresh fruit puree
1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 egg whites
1/4 c. sugar

In large saucepan combine gelatin, 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (to taste), and salt. Stir in water; heat and stir til gelatin dissolves. Stir in desired fruit puree and evaporated milk. Turn into a 9x9x2" pan, cover and freeze until firm. In small mixer bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gredaully add 1/4 cup sugar, beating till stiff peaks form. Break frozen mixture into chucks; turn into chilled large mixer bowl. Beat until fluffy. Fold in egg whites. Return to pan; cover and freeze until firm. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Cantaloupe Ice

Ingredients:
2 c. cantaloupe puree
1 c. water
1/4 c. honey
1 T. lime juice
t. ground cinnamon

Place cantaloupe, water, honey, lime juice, and cinnamon in a blender and process until thoroughly combined. Pour mixture into ice cube trays. Place in freezer for at least four hours. When ready to serve, pop cubes out of trays and place in a food processor. Process until smooth and serve immediately. Yield: three cups.

Watermelon Fruit Leather

Ingredients:
1 c. diced watermelon, seeds removed
1 c. diced banana
1 c. diced pineapple
2 T. fresh lemon juice

Puree all ingredients in blender. Prepare two leather trays. Spread as directed. Dehydrate 8 to 10 hours or until leather will pull away from liner. Yield: 2 leathers.

Watermelon Leather Chips

Dry fruit leather until brittle. These can be eaten as a snack, chopped to make toppings on cereals and puddings or reconstituted to flavor yogurt, ice cream, milk shakes, and baby cereal. Store dried chips in airtight glass or plastic contaners.

Watermelon Honey

Ingredients:
10 lb Chopped melon
2 Lemons
2 qt Cold water
1/4 lb Preserved ginger or ginger root
10 lb Sugar

Pare watermelon. Discard rind and all of the pink portion. Grind white portion through food chopper, using the coarse knife. Use the following proportions: Combine melon and water. Cook slowly until melon is clear. Add sugar, sliced lemon, and ginger, cut in small pieces. Cook slowly until thick.

Fresh Watermelon Salsa

Ingredients:
2 c Seeded & coarsely chopped watermelon
2 tb Chopped onion
2 tb Chopped water chestnuts
2 To 4 tablespoons chopped anaheim chillies
2 tb Balsamic vinegar
1/4 ts Garlic salt

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate 1 or more hours. Makes 2 cups.

Cantaloupe Preserves

Ingredients:
1 pound cantaloupe flesh
3/4 pound sugar
1 lemon

Cut cantaloupe into sections. Remove seeds. Remove rind. Cut firm portion of pulp into uniform pieces. Add sugar to melon in alternate layers of melon and sugar. Let stand 24 hours. Add juice of one lemon. Bring to boil and boil quickly until the fruit is clear and tender. Place fruit in shallow strays. If syrup is too thin, continue cooking until the desired consistency is reached. Pour hot syrup over fruit and allow to stand overnight so fruit will plump. Pack cold in sterilized jars. Seal and process in boiling water bath for 30 minutes.

Spicy Melon Pickles

Ingredients:
13 c. cantaloupe, cut into 1" balls or cubes
3 c. vinegar
2 c. water
2 sticks cinnamon
2 t. whole cloves
1 t. whole allspice
1 t. ground nutmeg
4 c. sugar

Combine vinegar, water and spices in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer five minutes. Remove from heat; add melon; and let stand 1 to 2 hours. Add sugar to sauce pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until cantaloupe becomes slightly transparent. Pack melon balls into hot jars, leaving quarter inch headspace. Pour hot syrup over lemon balls, leaving quarter inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about five 12 oz. jars.

Cantalope Pickles

Ingredients:
4 mediun cantalopes
2 qts.water
8 tbs.canning salt
5 cups boiling water
3 cups cider vinegar
8 cups sugar
5 sticks cinnamon
2 tbs.whole cloves
1 tsp.nutmeg


choose cantalopes that are not over ripe.cut in half,remove seeds. peel and cut into1 inch cubes.mix cold water and salt together. pour over cantalopes,let stand 3 hours.drain.combine boiling water with vinegar,sugar and spices and stir until dissolved.add cantalope and boil 10 minutes.cool.cover and let stand 12 hours. drain off syrup into another pan and boil syrup for 10 minutes. add cantalope and simmer 40 minutes or until cantalope is transparent. pack cantalope and syrup into clean hot pint jars.fill jars 1/2 inch of jat top.wipe off rims and seal.process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.remove jars and complete the seal.makes 8 pints.

Watermelon Jelly

Ingredients:
4 c. seeded, diced watermelon
3 1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 of a 6 oz. pkg. liquid fruit pectin (1 foil pouch)

Place diced watermelon in a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until smooth (should have 2 cups watermelon puree). In a 6- to 8-quart kettle or Dutch oven combine the watermelon puree, sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down) over high heat, stirring constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon. Stir in the pectin all at once. Return mixture to a full rolling boil; boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove kettle or Dutch oven from heat; skim of foam. Ladle jelly into clean hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Allow to cool completely away from drafts, then store in cool, dark place. Makes 4 half-pints.

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