This one is for AFAM hosted by Jai and Bee, the charming couple of Jugalbandi. And this is also the first time I am participating in AFAM, despite numerous futile tries before. We all love Watermelon, don’t we? And that brings to my mind an incident which was narrated by my landlady R when I was around 12.
She was an elderly lady having the wisdom which village life bestows on its inhabitants and when we rented their upper storey in Vellore, it was customary for me to spend some afternoons with her over the weekends. During one such visit, I was given Watermelon and she proceeded to tell me the following story. In R’s village, watermelons grew in cemeteries and people despised or rather feared Watermelons, believing the redness of the flesh came from the dead’s blood.
But this grandma who was an adventurous soul would bring a Watermelon home from the forbidden place, cut it up into bite sized pieces, add a sprinkle or two of sugar and keep it marinating in a pot. After dark after the family returns from work, she would take advantage of the darkness as there was no electricity and would serve them the further sweetened watermelon pieces. And needless to say, her people fell head over heels in love with the delicious fruit and proceeded to ask her for the details. And that was when this wise lady pointed out that they were indeed the dead man’s blood or WaterMelons.
Needless to say R’s family realised their folly and broke their taboo…
Ok..Let me take your mind off that offhand story and present my dish. When it comes to my favorite things, I wish I can bottle the essence of it with me forever. And watermelons are no exception. So, what could I make? I can juice it..I can blend it into a milkshake..I can freeze it to an ice cream or granita or sorbet..I could bake it into a cake or a muffin..Nah, that would be too heavy..How about a jam? Something I can bottle and keep for a week or so..Would that satisfy my odd wish? I guess it would…
The jam turned out great, exhibiting a great color and flavor. Appearences are deceptive and it applies to Watermelon too. Despite the light and juicy texture, the flesh withstood heat very well and I had to break it up into small pieces and towards the end take the help of a hand blender to smoothen the jam’s consistency. I coupled watermelon with a hint of cinnamon to deepen the aroma.
On a side note, watermelons are an excellent source of Vitamin C and are packed with Vitamins A and B6 along with powerful antioxidants like beta carotene and lycopene. So, while this big giant works as a great thirst quencher, it fuels your body with a powerhouse of nutrients.
Onto the recipe now:
Makes about 1 cup of jam
Making time : Appr. 45 mins
Watermelon – Appr. 2 lbs or 900 gms ( Without the rind and hard seeds)
Sugar – Around 3 Tbs
Cinnamon – A couple of pinches
Lime Juice from half of a fruit
Cut the watermelon flesh into small chunks. Mix cinnamon with sugar. You can vary the sugar and cinnamon quantity as per your taste. Simmer the fruit, sugar mixture and lime juice. The fruit will start breaking down. There is no need to add water as the water from the watermelon is sufficient. Keep stirring as the mixture thickens and use a ladle to mash the chunks. When the mixture has reached the consistency of a jam, take it off heat and use a hand blender or a regular blender to grind it to the desired consistency. Return to heat and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Let cool and refrigerate. The jam will stay fresh for about 10 days.