I saw in the The Canlit Foodbook: From Pen to Palate: A Collection of Tasty Literary Fare Edna Staebler’s Watermelon Pickle “Just right for an Alice Munro funeral” I followed the recipe for ingredients, except its half a page doesn’t elaborate nearly enough for someone who hasn’t pickled.
Pick Your Own elaborates out to 17 pages. Instead of a canner, I used an open pot and for the rack at the bottom of the pot, I substituted bottle lids that would otherwise be recycled. I kept with the book recipe to add alum and to use white wine vinegar instead of white vinegar. Instead of a cloth spice bag, I used a tea ball.
One large watermelon, 2 days and rubberized canning tongs was all that was needed which we didn’t have. And alum which is at Bulk Barn. Bulk Barn is amazing. So many grains and spices. We still haven’t made it over to Little Italy’s Cardamom and Cloves spice shop but Bulk Barn should hold us over…
As a thumbnail sketch: the pink and green are taken off the rind. This is fiddly. I’m told watermelons used to have not only seeds but thick rinds so you got more rind for the peeling time.
Then it is salted, briefly cooked and it soaks, then the sugar bath and the nutmeg and cinnamon bark then the sliced lemon.
Then the soak in spicy sugar. Then the boil.
Then the canning and the long sit to seal under water pressure. Then it should sit for 6 weeks. Then it will be good for a year.
6 weeks to wait, potentially. Although we could open one.
You can see the lemon and the one inch long piece of cinnamon per jar.
Ah, and the poem of watermelon pickles that Claudia almost brought to tongue,
There was always another bite:
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly felt
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.
from Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity by John Tobias