Prep time: 35 minutes
About this recipe
Mary Poppins would be proud of this recipe; there are many spoonfuls of sugar here – they are necessary to help the watermelon rind go down to a soft sticky version of its former self. A lot of sugar, a little patience and some gentle nannying is what you need to make ‘glyko’. These Greek sweet preserves are a little like jam except they are generally made with the entire fruit, including the parts that would usually be relegated to the rubbish. The real magic of this recipe therefore is minimal waste and maximal flavour; these little pieces of watermelon rind are sweet and tender. Traditionally, this preserve would be served in the afternoon to guests stopping by for coffee, as a gesture of hospitality. But if, in the spirit of philoxenia, your visitors happen to stay the night, it makes for a great breakfast or brunch – try it as a topping for either hot or cold oats or Greek yogurt. It is also a nice offering for dinner party guests; I like to think of these candy slices as gummy bears meets the sophistication of petit fours.
This recipe is inspired by my client’s story of the magical hospitality of Haribo.
- 1kg watermelon (which will give you approximately 500g of rind)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 2 teaspoons more for the end
- 500g sugar
- 500ml water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
This recipe will make enough to fill two small jam jars
- Remove the green peel from the watermelon flesh – you are preserving only the white rind, i.e. the part between the peel and the flesh. Cut the rind into small slices, about 3cm by 3cm and around 1cm thick.
- Place the pieces in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Boil until soft – the exact time will depend on the thickness of the slices but the goal is for a knife to pass through easily, which can take between 20-25 minutes of boiling.
- Drain the rind and leave to cool. Fill a shallow dish with water, enough to cover the rind, and add the two tablespoons of lemon juice. Add the cooled rind to the lemony water and leave for two hours. Afterwards, rinse the lemon off the rind.
- Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small saucepan. Allow to bubble away for five minutes. Add the slices of rind and boil for a further five minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for 24 hours (leave it in the pan – saves washing up).
- Place the saucepan with all its contents back on the heat and add the cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer the syrup until it thickens, which will take a minimum of 10 minutes. To check the syrup is ready, place a little on a plate and run a spoon through the centre; if the two halves remain separate, it’s ready.
- Remove from the heat and add the two remaining teaspoons of lemon juice and the vanilla extract. Leave the preserved rind to cool and transfer to sterilised jars. Store just as you would jam, and keep for up to one year.