The Birth of Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy

 Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy came to be out of two separate events in my life. My youngest son loved to cook with me. At an early age he declared he wanted to open a restaurant when he was older, called "Tyler's Yummy in Your Tummy" He never did open that restaurant but I loved the name and decided to use it for my Blog on Cooking and Recipes.

 "Ollie" replaced the name "Tyler" in the title simply because that same son suggested the nickname Ollie when my first grandchild was born. My middle name is Olive after my Grandmother, and I became Grandma Ollie to my grandchildren. And thus Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy was born!

 This blog will be a collection of recipes - family, my own, and any others I can find in my collection. I've been cooking for almost 50 years - having started as a pre-teen. In Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy I'll share my favourite recipes, tips and techniques with you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Watermelon Fruit Roll Ups

Watermelon Fruit Roll Ups
Most dehydrating books says you can't dehydrate watermelon. But I decided to give it a try when hubs and I peeled the rind off of 4 large watermelons and cut 48 cups of white rind to make watermelon pickles.

I didn't want to waste all that nice pink-red watermelon that is so yummy to eat raw!

Since I also didn't want to feed it to our pigs, my only option was to try dehydrating it.

Watermelon in Dehydrator

What I did was make sure the watermelon was about 1/4 inch thin, removed as many seeds as I could see.

I did buy seedless but there's always a few,  and then set my dehydrator to 135'.
After about 8 hours I had what looked like fruit rollups - they were sticky and pliable and tasted pretty darn good.

Watermelon Roll Ups Almost Done
Then into a clean glass jar they went and I now have Watermelon Jelly rolls.

Wish my grandchildren lived nearby because if they did I would pack these in their lunches for treats at school.

Watermelon Roll Ups in Jar

Watermelon Rind for Pickles
Tomorrow I am cooking up my 48 cups of white watermelon rind for Watermelon pickles. I love it when I haven't wasted one single bit of the food source except for that hard inedible green outer rind.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Watermelon Pickles

Watermelon Pickles
Yesterday I made watermelon pickles for the first time. I'd never heard of them until my friend Pat mentioned her grandmother Myrtle making them.

After Pat kindly posted her grandma's recipe, I decided to try my hand. Because I didn't have all the ingredients needed for Grandma Myrtle's recipe, I used part of it and part of Paula Deen's Pickled Watermelon Rind recipe to create my own.

The pickles are delicious! I never knew you could eat the white rind part by pickling it. Huh! So here's what I did:

I took one large watermelon, cut it into thick slices, peeled the hard green outer rind off, then carefully sliced off strips of the white inner flesh. I forgot to take photos of this process so I hope you can picture what I'm doing. Once I had strips of white flesh (it is okay to have some of the pink left) I cut them into chunks about 1 inch long. It doesn't matter if you end up with triangles and odd shapes, it all tastes the same in the end.

Rinse Watermelon Rind
Next, I soaked 8 cups of white rind in 8 cups of water mixed with 1 cup of kosher salt. Don't use ordinary table salt. I left it for 8 hours in the fridge.

After 8 hours I rinsed the white rind in lots of cold water.

Put the rinsed rind in a large pot and cover with water. It took about 4 cups of water to cover the rind. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the rind is tender.

Meantime assemble your ingredients. For my 8 cups of watermelon rind I used 3 cups of white sugar (I would use more sugar next time, perhaps 4 cups), 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar, cinnamon sticks and pickling spice.

I didn't have mustard seed so had to make do with the pre-made pickling spice I use for marinading rabbit. It worked fine!

I broke the cinnamon sticks in two and used 4. I think I would use fewer next time.

Drain the watermelon rind you just cooked for 5 minutes. Put the vinegar and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sugar dissolves then add the drained watermelon rind, cinnamon sticks and pickling spice. I used 1 tablespoon of spice. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the watermelon rind is transparent.

While the watermelon rind was cooking I boiled my mason jars and lids for 10 minutes.

Rind going into sterilized jars

Once the rind was ready, I scooped it out with a slotted spoon and dumped it into the sterilized jars leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top. I used 3 small jars and only had about 4 pieces of rind that wouldn't fit.

Then I poured the liquid vinegar-sugar mixture into the jars leaving 1/4 inch space at the top.

 The last step was to tightly screw on the lids of the mason jars and put them into a boiling pot of water for 10 minutes. Next time I'll pull out an old canning pot I have, the kind with the inserted stand that the jars fit nicely into.

I left the jars overnight on the counter. I heard one of the lids pop as it was sealing and cooling so hopefully they all did!

Then I labelled the lids with the name of the pickles and the date. I tried one that didn't fit in the jars and even though it was warm it was delicious! I can't wait to serve one jar at Christmas as a relish or side dish.

Hubs wants me to use some as a relish on hamburgers so we'll give that a try too. (Update: We now use watermelon pickles as relish on burgers and hot dogs as well as a side for things like Turkey Pot Pie. Delicious!!)

All in all I'm pleased with these watermelon pickles. And I'm proud of my very first attempt at making preserves! I've never done it or seen it done as my mother was not into cooking at all. I might make some other pickles too as this was kind of fun.

Oh yeah I should mention that hubs refused to eat any if I let my family chew on watermelon at our Family Fun Day, and then cut the chewed part off. So that's why I cut the rind off first, then served the watermelon without rind. They didn't care and hubs was happy. To tell the truth, so was I.

See my post on making Watermelon Fruit Roll Ups with the nice pink-red watermelon flesh that's left. So yummy!

I also chunked some watermelon and other melons, then made these fruit cones you see on the left. An easy way to eat fruit without a bowl. But difficult to make the cones stand up and if you lie them down the fruit rolls out! I'll figure out a better way than Styrofoam cups for next time.