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Monday, 20 August 2012

Recipe: Watermelon Syrup

We love, love, love watermelons! But every now and then, I manage to pick a dud. Last week, for example, I bought one of these luscious green orbs, only to find the next morning that it had ruptured overnight and oozed pink sticky liquid all over my kitchen.

The whole melon was bloated and soft, so I wasn't surprised that when I cut it open there was a slight "tang" to the pulp. Yes, I did indeed taste it. I am always very reluctant to throw out a whole anything if some part can be salvaged (plant food only, of course). But what to do with a medium-sized watermelon that's beginning to ferment?

A few years ago, I discovered a recipe for watermelon syrup in Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook published by the Mennonite Central Committee (who also brought us the legendary More With Less cookbook). Well, actually it's a recipe for watermelon jam, but I no longer do canning (another Before Children activity) and thus rarely have pectin in my pantry. Regardless, without the packaged pectin, it still makes a slatheringly-good syrup!

Here's my no-pectin, non-canning version:

Watermelon Syrup
1 medium watermelon
5 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 - 2 teaspoons ground ginger (or less, if you prefer mild spice)

  1. Cut up the watermelon and remove the rind and any seeds. (I leave the white, soft seeds, and remove only the black, hard seeds.) 
  2. Mash or puree the pulp.
  3. In a large pot, combine the watermelon pulp, lemon juice and ginger, and bring to a rolling boil. 
  4. Quickly add the sugar, and return to a boil.
  5. Boil for at least 1 minute, or until the water content is somewhat reduced and a slightly thickened liquid results. Cool and ladle into containers. Refrigerate.
It's great over plain yogurt, waffles or pancakes, cereal... But watch out! It's seriously habit-forming. (Last year, my partner asked me, "What are you doing, drinking the stuff??" ... no... maybe...)

Blondie's Watermelon Jam
If you're into canning --or want to give it a try-- check out this beautiful recipe with very helpful instructions for watermelon jam from Blondie's Cakes and Things.

I feel like I'm having a taste of summer when I eat my watermelon syrup. Do you have any easy ways to capture the tastes of summer's bounty?


  1. It's summer now in Sydney and the watermelons are cheap. Sometimes the kids will inhale a whole one, sometimes one is left for a little bit too long. I've been making my own syrups for soda, and was going to make one up for watermelon when I found yours. I love ginger in everything, so that will go in. I may strain it though. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Hey there! My family is Mennonite and my dad tells me that in the Ukraine, Mennonites used to make this syrup instead of using sugar (because they didn't have sugar) So you actually don't need to add refined sugar to it and it will be marvelous!


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