Cherry’melon Shrub
Cherry'melon Shrub- Putting Up with ErinCherry'melon Shrub- Putting Up with Erin

CherryPalooza! Today’s feature? Cherry’melon shrub with fresh lemon verbena. Taking a break to say “hi” as I work my way through the 18lbs of fresh cherries from the lovelies over at North West Cherry Growers and the Washington State Fruit Commission. Check out last week’s homemade maraschino cherries and stay tuned for a couple more CherryPalooza recipes. I’ve never been quite much of a fan of melons, but the American holiday July 4th just screams watermelon. Watermelon is the only melon I can actually tolerate.

Shrubs have became my new favorite way answer to both preserves fruit and livening up a simple cocktail. For a delicious and bright flavored summer shrub using the cold shrub method, I tossed together a couple pounds of cherries, watermelon, and some fresh lemon verbena picked from my garden. For a tasty refreshing cocktail, try a summer take on a classic Americano, recipe below. Cheers!!

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Pickled Watermelon RindPickled Watermelon Rind- Putting Up with ErinPickled Watermelon Rind- Putting Up with Erin

Maybe I’m not alone here, but as a canner/pickler I often get the question, “Erin, why don’t you try pickling this!?” The majority of the time I’m fully up for the challenge. Sometimes I tend to put it off, because either it sounds weird, or I’m just not interested in having 6 pints of something I’m not so into on my shelf. Case and point, preserved lemons, a friend suggested it, I put it off, I finally got around to it, they were weird, I tossed them after 3mos, end of story. Years ago while going through the kitchy colonial Williamsburg, VA, I tasted pickled watermelon rind. Upon 1st taste, the sweet, candy like watermelon rind pickle repelled me. Not surprisingly, literally 1 week a later, again a friend propositioned me, “Hey have you ever made pickled watermelon rind?” Nope! Six years later here we are. Last weekend as I was shopping for the 4th of July I grabbed a large watermelon. We didn’t get around to eating it on the day, so I figured it was time.

I got a bit caught up during my research as I wanted to cut down on the sugar while at the same time make them safe to can. Most recipes that I found were for quick fridge pickles with varying amounts of sugar. Other watermelon rind pickle recipes meant for canning had higher sugar content. I went with a  slight modification/addition on Paula Dean’s recipe by adding 2 jalapeño peppers (seeds in). I found that it took quite a while for the rinds to turn translucent. The result: a sweet, salty, spicy watermelon pickle with a slight gummy candy consistency. Enjoy!

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