I got a message from my friend Leni last week, telling me she had a perishable gift for me and could I please come get it?
My curiosity was quite piqued, as knowing Leni, a perishable gift could mean just about anything. I immediately made time to drive out to her place Thursday to pick up said gift, which turned out to be this:
En route to The Cheese Shop the other day, Leni and her daughter Winter stumbled upon this squash patch:
Among the plethora of squash, was this particular item billed as ‘perfect for watermelon rind pickles’. Because I have a little bit of a reputation as a pickler, they immediately thought I needed it. I finally got around to slicing into it this morning.
Can I just say it was an absolute beast to cut into? It’s pretty much solid rind. And by solid, I mean a good ten pounds worth. By looking at the interior, I was able to identify it as a Citron melon, an heirloom melon that is known for preserving. Uncut, it can keep for months, similar to winter squashes. It’s not particularly edible in raw form, but the list of things one can make from this is intriguing. There are preserves, it can baked into a compote, can be turned into jam or a vegetarian mincemeat filling. There are a few recipes out there for a candied citron that can used in baking and I even stumbled across a mention of Citron Creme from The Virginia Housewife. And there is this – several pages of nothing but recipes for the melon.
I diced a quarter of the melon up and started in on the candied recipe. That quarter yielded two quarts of diced fruit, so there is plenty of room to experiment with this. I’m currently open to suggestions what to do with the remaining three quarters (although I’m leaning towards some mincemeat and jam) and by the way yes, I am saving seeds for anyone who is interested in any.
And that friends, is your food lesson of the day. To be continued….