This article presents a beloved recipe for preserving watermelons using a straightforward canning process and a sweet and tangy brine. It’s an ideal method if you have an abundance of watermelons and want to enjoy them later.
Why Should You Make This Recipe?
- It’s quick and easy to prepare.
- No need for complicated canning or boiling of jars.
- This recipe is perfect for smaller batch sizes.
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The Flavor Profile of Canned Watermelons
The watermelons will absorb the flavors of the brine used for preservation. The brine imparts a pleasant combination of sweetness, saltiness, and a zesty lemon twist.
If you’re concerned about altering the taste, you can adjust the recipe by adding more sugar or reducing the amount of salt. However, both sugar and salt play crucial roles in preserving the watermelons.
The citric acid in the brine brings a sharp and tangy flavor, resembling concentrated lemon.
- For a sweeter brine, increase the amount of sugar by 100% and decrease the amount of salt by 50%.
- For a sweet and salty brine, follow the recipe as is.
The Key to Success in This Recipe
Adding aspirin, salt, and citric acid helps extend the shelf life of the watermelons. Sugar also aids in preservation, but its primary purpose is to enhance flavor.
Tips for Making This Recipe Successfully
- Gather all your ingredients and sterilize the jam jars and lids beforehand.
- Ensure the brine is well mixed just before pouring it into the jars to prevent ingredient sedimentation.
When filling the jars, make sure the water comes close to the top but does not touch the lid. Aim for about a 1 cm space below the lid.
Choosing the Right Watermelon
For best results, use medium-sized, firm watermelons that are slightly ripe. Overripe watermelons tend to disintegrate and are not suitable for this recipe.
The Preservation Process
The beauty of this recipe lies in the fact that you don’t need to use a water bath to preserve the watermelons. The combination of hot water, citric acid, and aspirin ensures the watermelons stay fresh for a few months.
While this recipe uses a simple brine preserving method, you can opt to further prolong the shelf life of the watermelon jars by boiling them in a hot water bath or pressure cooker. This can extend their shelf life to 1-2 years.
Regardless of your chosen method, always make sure your jars are clean and sterilized to prevent bacteria growth. This step is crucial for ensuring the safety of your canned watermelons.
To sterilize your jars and lids, either wash them in a dishwasher using a hot cycle or hand wash them and place them in an oven set at 100°C (210°F) for approximately 10 minutes. This process eliminates unwanted bacteria and sterilizes the glass jars.
Any type of jam jar or traditional mason jar is suitable for canning watermelons, but using larger jars can make it easier to pack the watermelon chunks exactly how you want them.
If you’re making gifts for friends and family, consider using smaller jars and adding pretty labels, ribbons, and fabric covers for a special touch.
Allergies & Dietary Requirements
This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. However, some individuals may be allergic to aspirin, so be sure to check for any allergies before serving the canned watermelons or giving them as homemade gifts.
Ingredients for Canned Watermelons
- Citric acid
How to Make Canned Watermelons
Wash and scrub the watermelon to remove any dirt. Ensure it is thoroughly clean, using only water and a clean cloth—no cleaning products.
Cut the watermelon into medium-sized triangles, approximately 1.5 cm thick. Avoid slicing them too thin, as they may lose their shape when packed in the jar.
Wash and sterilize the jam jars and lids by placing them on a clean baking tray in an oven set at 100°C (210°F) for 10 minutes.
Layer the watermelon pieces in the jam jars, slightly overlapping them like a brick wall.
Boil 1.5 liters of water (approximately 6 cups plus ⅓ cup) in an electric kettle or large saucepan.
Measure out the sugar, salt, citric acid, and aspirin. Add them to the boiling water and mix until fully dissolved.
Stir the mixture again before carefully pouring it into the jam jars. Divide it evenly between the jars. If there are any gaps, boil more water and top up the jars without adding additional preserving ingredients.
Immediately screw on the jam jar lids, using kitchen towels for a good grip.
Leave the canned watermelons on a work counter until they cool down completely. Then, store them in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
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You can make the brine sweeter by increasing the amount of sugar and reducing the amount of salt. This will result in watermelons that are sweeter and taste more like fresh ones.
Serving Suggestions for Canned Watermelons
Canned watermelons are perfect for fruit or vegetable salads and pair well with pate or cheese as a side dish.
Depending on how you prepare them, you can use the watermelons with reduced salt content for making smoothies, adding to breakfast oatmeal, or creating fruit salads and simple puddings with ice cream.
This recipe is based on 1 medium to large watermelon, yielding 2-4 medium to large jam jars filled with preserved watermelons.
Scaling Up or Down the Recipe
Feel free to adjust the quantities according to your needs. You can double or triple the recipe or reduce it based on the amount of watermelon you have on hand.
Maintain the proportions of the ingredients, but don’t worry if you slightly exceed or deviate from them. If you prefer a sweeter brine, add more sugar.
Storing Canned Watermelons
Store the jars in a cold, dark place, away from direct sunlight. Periodically check for any signs of mold. A slight foggy discoloration of the water is typically harmless—just shake the jar to disperse it.
Shelf Life of Canned Watermelons
Canned watermelons should be consumed within 1-6 months. As we’re not using a hot bath canning method, their shelf life is shorter when compared to traditional canning. However, incorporating aspirin helps preserve the watermelons and inhibits bacterial growth.
Once opened, refrigerate the canned watermelons with the lids securely screwed on, and consume within 7 days.