We took home made jams for granted as children and never had to resort to tinned or bought ones. My Mother would experiment with seasonal fruits, vegetables and what not turning them into delicious jams, syrups, preserves, pickles and chutneys and crushes. Some time ago I heard a friend talking about Watermelon Pith Jam and wondered how to make it. Last week we had some in the house and I thought of using the basic recipe I use for jam. It turned out fine and here it is today. People usually discard the rind without a thought. The next time you buy a watermelon, keep the rind and slice off the white pith and make it into a delicious golden jam which tastes something like the transparent, golden, ash gourd preserves my Mum used to make. This then is the result.
1/2 a medium sized watermelon - after eating the fruit, wash and skin the rind, discarding the green part and keeping the white pith. You will get about 2 cups when cut into pieces.
1 cup brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup); a pinch of salt; 2 inch piece of cinnamon broken into pieces; 3 or 4 cloves; 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar; 1 tbsp green and red tutti fruitti; 2 tsp orange peel, minced; 2 tbsp rum.
Mix the cut pith pieces with the sugar (see photograph) and keep aside till the sugar melts. I kept it overnight in the refrigerator. Next day bring back to room temperature and simmer with spices, tutti fruitti, orange peel, salt and apple cider vinegar on medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove from fire, cool and add the rum. Stir well. Bottle and use as a topping with ice cream, curds, oats, chappathis and hot melted butter or as I love best of all with toasted bread dripping with fresh, golden, home made butter!
NB: The jam turned a golden brown since I used brown sugar. When white sugar is used the jam is a paler golden version.