Most experts say watermelons taste best just off the vine, simply chilled and cut in wedges. But watermelon has been served in just about every way imaginable: as rind pickles, and in preserves, salads, slushes, cakes and pastries. During the Civil War, the Confederate Army boiled down watermelons as a source of sugar and molasses. Russians go so far as to make beer from watermelon juice.
2 c. peeled and cubed raw watermelon rind (not pickled rind)
1/2 - 1 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 heaping tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. flour
1/4 c. cider or white vinegar
2-crust pie pastry, uncooked
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare the rind by removing the outer green part and most of the watermelon pulp, then cut into 1/4-inch cubes before measuring.
Place the measured, cubed rind in a medium saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until translucent and tender. Drain.
Add the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, raisins, pecans, salt, flour, and vinegar to cubes. Stir well.
Pour the mixture into pastry shell; cover with top pastry crust and cut steam vents.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crust is slightly browned. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and bake 40-45 more minutes until filling is set.
Note: If you prefer a pie without raisins, cut the sugar by half. For a more subtle flavor, substitute dried apricots for raisins (use 1/2 -3/4 c. sugar).
From the July 1993 issue.