So, it’s summer again and I just can’t help myself: I’ll have to honor that big, lunky watermelon.
This year, I have a new obsession – nose to tail cooking – that will shift the focus a little. (I always feel a little overtly carnivorous using that adage. An alternative was recently suggested to me that seems reasonable: roots, shoots and leaves).
One of the current focuses of our writing and live presentations (called Edible Education Experiences) is honoring our ancestral predecessors in our eating experiences. One of the tenets of eating like our ancestors is eating seasonally. Check. Nothing more seasonal than watermelon. Another is the use of the entire ‘product’ and not just that flashy, fleshy, colorful part. Avoiding waste was not only thrifty a generation or two ago, but necessary. Put aside our generation’s apparent belief that prosperity is symbolized by excess – which, in turn, is accessed by wasting. There is something triumphant and respectful about using the entire plant or animal creatively with the intention of serving loved ones and community delicious food. It honors nature and our foremothers. So here is my contribution for ‘cooking for summer a la roots, shoots, and leaves’
WATERMELON RIND CHUTNEY
the rind of a scrubbed, small, organic watermelon, finely diced
1 cup vinegar of choice (I like apple cider vinegar)
½ cup date sugar, pomegranate molasses, honey or ¼ cup tamarind paste dissolved in ½ cup water
½ cup chopped dried mint leaves
Put the rind in a shallow sautee pan with enough water to cover. Bring to boil
Lower to medium high heat. Add Vinegar, sugar (or honey etc.) Stir
Allow to reduce so that ½ the liquid evaporates. About 30 minutes.
Add mint leaves and stir. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or more until liquid is almost gone.
Here it is served with diced, grilled Hallumi Cheese at an Edible Education Experience at Shangri-La Springs in Bonita