Graced with No Waste

Don’t you love the idea of being able to use all of something? 

My friend, Karen at http://findingmerle.com and I have been talking about our relatives who survived the Great Depression and how they learned to use nearly everything they had. 

For instance, my grandparents had gardens, fruit trees and fruit bushes. Anything with a berry on it was fair game. 

I remember picking gooseberries with grandma. Have you ever had gooseberries? Woo! They are sour! But, with lots of sugar, they make a good pie. 

At the end of summer, their cellars were always packed with the fruits and vegetables they “put up” (canned) to eat during the winter. 

A look at any old cookbook will reveal lots of pickle type recipes such as: 

  • Beet pickles 
  • Bread and Butter pickles
  • Dills
  • Refrigerator pickles
  • Sweet pickles
  • Freezer corn
  • Lime pickles 
  • Relishes

Karen mentioned wishing she had her great grandmother’s Watermelon Pickles recipe. I have my grandma’s recipe, so I thought it’d be fun to share it. 

Watermelon Pickles: 

1 gallon white part of melon

2 cups cider vinegar 

1 TBS whole cloves

1 TBS cinnamon 

5 cups sugar 

1 cup water

1 TBS whole allspice 

Brine: 1 quart water and 1/4 cup salt

Cut melon in cubes and let stand overnight in salted water (brine). Drain. Cover with fresh cold water, bring to boil and cook over low heat til tender. Drain. 

Combine ingredients above and boil 5 minutes. Add melon cubes and simmer til transparent. Pour in sterilized hot jars and seal. 

I haven’t tried this recipe yet. So, as long as the rabbits don’t eat all of my melons, I hope to make some watermelon pickles later on this summer. 

I’m going to take a cue from generations past and instead of filling my trash can with all the watermelon rinds, I’d love to live like they did and be graced with no waste. 

23 thoughts on “Graced with No Waste

  1. Annika Perry June 2, 2016 / 10:49 am

    Watermelon pickles!! Sounds intriguing – let us know how you get on. I agree though, it was a wonder how much fruit was made into jams etc. My grandmother (and later my grandfather) every year would make litres of pears for the winter. Cooking the pears from their two giant trees in water and adding a ton (or so it seemed!) of sugar. Delicious!! Especially when warmed slightly after the freezer and added to vanilla ice-cream. Oh, I’m sad now…haven’t had any of that for years..

    • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 11:11 am

      Oh my gosh, Annika! Those pears sound dreamy! Yum! Especially over ice cream. I’m sad, you’re sad. Maybe someone has the recipe?

      I bet you’re right about the sugar. Seems like I remember a lot of sugar in the old recipes. As my mom always says, everything in moderation. I’m betting they didn’t sit down and eat a whole jar by themselves at once. Probably made it last. Less sugar at once! Ha!

      • Annika Perry June 2, 2016 / 11:36 am

        No, a good kind of sad. Just brought back great memories and strange how I can see them so clearly in my head, even garner the scents from the house, hear their comments.I know, what was it with SUGAR!! I like your idea of moderation!

        • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 11:55 am

          Oh good! The good sad!! :) Funny how the scents and voices come back so clearly. Love that. My grandma Irene passed away in 1991 and I can still “see” her pantry full of jars and her freezer full of corn. :)

      • karenlee June 2, 2016 / 11:39 am

        It isn’t an old recipe, but I used to make pear butter. It is heavenly over pancakes (over ice cream it’s probably to die for). If anyone wants me to find that recipe, I’d be happy to track it down. :)

        • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 12:03 pm

          Start tracking, girl!! :) (Pretty please!)

          • karenlee June 2, 2016 / 2:39 pm

            You got it. :)

  2. karenlee June 2, 2016 / 11:37 am

    Thank you, Jess, for the recipe! I can hardly wait to try this (and sooo wish I had my great grandmother Orah’s recipe). I can still recall how they looked. Such a treat! My father always spoke of how they had no choice, that they could not waste anything. It’s a better way to live, honestly. Are those your canning jars? Lovely photo! :)

    • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 12:00 pm

      I wish you had Orah’s recipe, too! So you could share with me!! :) Wish I could’ve met your dad. Bet he had some great lessons.

      The jars are my other grandma’s (Wilma). There’s a cellar type room in her basement. It was one of those doors we were afraid to open when we were kids. One of those creepy “what’s in THERE” rooms!

      All grown up, it’s just a cinder block room for canned goods. :)

      • karenlee June 2, 2016 / 2:39 pm

        Hard to believe dad’s been gone now 10 years; does not seem possible. He’s with me; I can tell. :) Oh, that room sounds heavenly! I wish I had one for my canned goods (not that I have that many, lol). But, I love the idea. And, I hold out a smidgen of hope to find Orah’s recipe. I have not yet read all of her letters; most, but not all. If I find it, you’ll hear me hollering way over here. :)

        • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 2:55 pm

          Ten years. Bet you miss him. Glad he’s with you! Fingers crossed for the recipe. :) I’ll be listening for that holler!

  3. karenlee June 2, 2016 / 11:42 am

    P.S. Forgot to mention that I found a recipe today for Watermelon Rind Preserves. <3

    • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 12:04 pm

      Please share! We can start a watermelon pickle revival! Ha! :)

  4. Miriam June 2, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    Watermelon pickles, wow, sounds really different. I grew up in a backyard with loads of fruit trees … peach, apple, nectarine, fig, pear, orange, lemon, a garden bed filled with strawberries (and lots of other vegetables but I was mainly interested in picking the strawberries!) I have so many happy memories of mum baking in the kitchen from all the produce she collected. :)

    I never knew my grandparents so I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to have all those recipes handed down. :)

    • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Wow Miri! You had all those trees plus strawberries? Yum! I love hearing about your mum baking. Tell me more! :)

      You never knew your grandparents? I’ll share my recipes with you if you like. :)

      • Miriam June 2, 2016 / 7:41 pm

        Yeah, and dad used to make wine from the grapes that grew on our fence. So many awesome memories :)
        But not of my grandparents unfortunately. Both sets lived in Italy and died before I was born. So I will happily enjoy any recipes you share :)

        • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 7:49 pm

          Your dad?? You rarely mention him! I love this!

          I’m sorry to hear they passed before you were born. They missed out on knowing a heck of a wonderful girl!

          I’ll share all I’ve got!

          • Miriam June 2, 2016 / 7:53 pm

            Yeah my wonderful dad who I lost to cancer 17 years ago and who I was only just really getting to know when he passed (as strange that that sounds). My friendship with you here is unearthing so many memories. Thank you Jess. xox :)

          • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 7:56 pm

            Oh no. Cancer is so mean. :( I’m glad good memories are coming back.

          • Miriam June 2, 2016 / 8:07 pm

            It is mean but there’s lots of good memories coming back, brimming at the surface. Itching to get out onto my blog. :) But all in good time. xo

          • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 8:55 pm

            Ooooo. I can’t wait! ❤️

  5. Weird Guy With The Dog June 2, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    Canning is an art my grandmother did, and I still remember looking at the mason jars full of jam in her garage when I was a child. Someday I will take up the art of canning, just for the fun of it!

    • Jessica Adam June 2, 2016 / 9:27 pm

      Oh! What a great picture I have in my mind of a child admiring jars of jam. :) When you start your canning art, let me know, will ya?

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