In a jam

Watermelon jam

‘Waste not, want not’ was the adage on the West Coast all those years ago. Which means making jam by the bucket-load was a way of life to preserve food for lean times. And come December, kitchens were fragrant with the aroma of watermelon jam on the boil.

Ingredients: 4 kg watermelon; 3 kg sugar; juice of 2 large lemons; 4 pieces dried ginger; 2,5 ml salt; 12 x 500 gm jars.

Cut out the watermelon flesh, remove the pips and cube the flesh. Heat the watermelon and sugar slowly to boiling point while stirring non-stop. Still stirring, cook slowly for another 15 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the lemon juice, ginger and salt. Boil quickly while constantly skimming off the surface scum until the jam is transparent and the syrup nice and thick. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Test the syrup’s thickness by dropping a teaspoonful on a saucer and storing it in the freezer. Once cooled, the syrup should be thick.

Happy with the thickness? Time to spoon the hot jam into jars. When done, well-buttered farm-fresh bread springs to mind!