Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fairy Pancakes = NOM; Pickled Watermelon Rind = TBD

Last night, as she was falling asleep (waaaaaay later than I would generally like, but the universe does as it does so there's that), my daughter looked up at me, and in this tiny whisper which she reserves only for those moments when I truly want to choke her out so that I feel immediate and intense guilt for thinking such things of such a gentle and kind creature, she said, "Mommy? When we wake up, will you make us fairy pancakes for breakfast?"

She even smiled. She may have even winked, but I can't be sure, because it was dark and my bleary eyes don't focus sharply any more.

Of course I said, "Of course." And that one has a mind like a steel trap, so the second her eyes opened this morning, she was all, "MAAAAAAAAAAAHM! PANCAAAAAAAAAAKES!"

So there they are. They're tasty, too.

Yesterday I began the 3-day process of pickling watermelon rind.

I KNOW, RIGHT?

Last week we bought a watermelon because they were on sale for $2.99 at Aldi's, and the girl insisted that she looooooves watermelon, and then of course we get it home and she informs me that she HATES WATERMELON AND HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS. This left me with a big-ass watermelon and no idea how to proceed. Yesterday, I finally got around to chopping it up. Dude. Unless you are having a picnic, or there are at least four people in your household that seriously love watermelon, there is no need for you to ever purchase a whole watermelon. IT'S A LOT OF MELON OKAY.

I had read a blog post last week about things to do with watermelon, and one thing I'm going to do is put half of the pink part into baggies and into the freezer, because you can use the frozen flesh to make slushies, or, even better, MARGARITAS. Yes. There was another post about making jelly, but you really need to sacrifice the entirety of the innards to get enough juice for that, so that was out. But then I read this cool post about pickling the rind. This intrigued me, because I liked the idea of using every bit of the melon.

I was actually smart about it, and I researched the process beforehand, so I knew it was at least a 3-day undertaking. So yesterday, after I got all of the flesh chopping out of the way, I started with step one. I made sure all of the pink flesh was completely cut away from the rind, and then used a vegetable peeler to remove the tough, dark outer skin from the rind. Then I chopped the rind into 1 1/2" pieces, each about 1/2" thick. I threw them into a heavy pot, and covered them with 2 quarts of water with 1/2 a cup of sea salt dissolved into it.  This has been sitting in the pot since yesterday afternoon. Today I have to drain and rinse everything at least twice, and then make the pickle syrup stuff. The rind needs to sit in the pickling juice for at least 12-24 hours, so tomorrow I will finally be ready to jar it up and process it. Then it has to sit in the pantry for at least 3 weeks before it's "done." Did I mention this will only make about 4 jars of pickles?

I don't know. It's not really that much work. The most labor-intensive part is behind me, and from what I've read online (and we all know how reliable that can be) they turn out sweet and yummy. So. I'm willing to give it a go this year. And I feel really good about not wasting all of that rind, which is really what life is all about. ME FEELING GOOD ABOUT MYSELF FOR DOING THINGS THAT REQUIRE LITTLE TO NO EFFORT.

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