We are in the middle of the watermelon 🍉 season and there is a delicious fruit
Whether in salads, ice cream, or slices, usually only the red part is eaten and the rest is discarded … but did you know that it can be used? Well, if you got this far, you already know that.
A medium-sized watermelon has about 1 kg to 1.5 kg of white, which is usually discarded. Apparently not, it is still a large amount …
Here in America, I have never seen recipes with the white part of the watermelon, but it is very common in Asian countries. As it has a crunchy texture and a fresh, neutral flavor, it is reminiscent of cucumber and is used in quick pickles, Japanese salads, Indian chutneys, fermented pickles and to make candied fruit.
Of all the versions I have tasted, the one I prefer is candied fruit.
This part of the watermelon can also be included in the Summer Salad – Watermelon and Feta and as it is very rich in nitrates that will turn into nitric oxide, it has an anti-aging effect.
However, sometimes that white part is too hard and you can’t eat it raw, as it will make digestion difficult … So this is where the candied fruit comes in!
As for nitrates, I don’t know if they survive the heat, but as for texture, flavor, and utility, they meet the requirements.
Crystallized fruit sold in supermarkets is usually made with papaya or papaya still green, that is, completely white inside. This fruit is cut, soaked with some preserving substance, cooked with lots of refined sugar, and colored with artificial colors.
Finding green papaya or green papaya here in Portugal, let’s say it’s almost an odyssey, but finding watermelon is super easy.
And it is not my invention It is a common practice in some Eastern European countries and in India.
If you’re like me, you’ll arrive at the end of summer 🌞 with a considerable stock of candied fruit for the ⛱️ holiday season.
How to Make Candied Fruit With Watermelon Peel
⚫ 1 kg White Part of Watermelon Peel;
⚫ 2 level teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate;
⚫ Water to soak;
⚫ 250gr Brown sugar or Yellow sugar;
⚫ 1 liter Water.
⚫ Burgundy: 1 Beetroot peeled and sliced for each kg of watermelon peel. Different amounts of Beet will give different shades;
⚫ Reddish orange: Purple cabbage leaves and a few drops of lemon juice.
Divide the white part of the watermelon into squares, thin strips, or wide strips. To make wide strips, use the thinner areas of the bark.
Rinse with water, place in a glass container, sprinkle with baking soda, and fill with water. To keep everything submerged, use a dessert plate or two saucers. Even if they are little pieces floating there is no harm.
Book in the PT fridge / BR fridge overnight or for about 7h.
After this time has elapsed, discard the water from the soaking. Fill the container with fresh water, stir to rinse the watermelon cubes thoroughly, and discard the water. Repeat one more time.
Optional step: 1st cooking
This step is completely optional and I only use it, if you see that the white part is very hard or verdigris.
In a saucepan, place the white part of the watermelon and fill it with water until covered. Bring to the boil until it boils. When it comes to a strong boil, discard the water.
Cooking with sugar
In a saucepan, place the white part of the watermelon, the sugar, and the liter of water. If you want to make colored candied fruit, also add beets or red cabbage leaves. Cover and bring to low heat and boil for 30 minutes.
After that time, you have two options:
⚫ Let it cool and store the pan in the refrigerator overnight. As the peel is already pre-cooked it will not spoil and the sugar will penetrate even better. The next day, remove it from the refrigerator and make the reduction. It is ideal for when you do not have time to make the reduction at that moment.
⚫ make the reduction immediately. It is still impeccable.
Uncap the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and let it reduce until all the liquid has evaporated. When there is little liquid, be careful because in this step it is advisable to keep stirring so as not to run the risk of burning or catching the bottom.
After evaporating all the liquid, dry the cubes for a few more minutes, always stirring with a spoon.
– The crystallized fruit colored with beets, will maintain a yellowish color throughout the cooking. The beetroot will completely discolor and the candied fruit, as well as the beetroot, will only start to take on color when they are drying over a fire and especially after cooling. You can dehydrate the beets and consume them as candied fruit.
– The crystallized fruit colored with red cabbage, will gain a grayish color, but when adding a few drops of lemon during the reduction of the liquid, it will turn orange. The color also intensifies on cooling. Cabbage leaves will have to be discarded before the end of the liquid reduction, as they will become too soft and brittle.
To dry, you can choose one of the following alternatives:
Dehydrator: distribute the candied fruit on the trays and dehydrate at 60ºC for 4h or a maximum of 5 hours;
Oven: distribute the fruit on the oven trays and dehydrate between 70 to 100ºC with a fan for about 3 hours. The time in the oven will vary depending on the oven and the amount to dry. It is a good idea to open the oven door to release the moisture that accumulates and stir the candied fruit occasionally.
Allow to cool and store in glass jars in the refrigerator.
In principle, you can also store it in the PT freezer / BR freezer.
After a few days in the refrigerator, the sugar begins to crystallize on the surface, creating the dull stain that you see in the photos.
You can, as long as you keep it in the fridge. However, I never left more than 24 hours.
You know the Figleaf gourd
After drying, they have a very light beet or cabbage flavor. However, after about 2 days in the refrigerator, they completely lose that flavor, leaving only the sweet taste.
I only tried to do:
- neutral, where the yellowish color is given by the sugar;
- with beet;
- with red cabbage;
- with turmeric, which was no more intense in yellow than the neutral version;
- with spirulina, it was a dull khaki green…
The ones I prefer are the neutral version and the ones with beets. The red cabbage is a good version for when there is no beet.
Yes, but the color and flavor of the sugar used will influence the final result.
It Is the Same as the Candied Fruit Purchased.