8/13/14

Homemade Watermelon BBQ or WonTon Sauce



I grew up in the heartland of America where cooking was usually 'from scratch' and everything that can and could be used from foods was.  It's a mindset that you don't throw things away without thinking of they have further potential.  Doesn't matter what you are talking about from old hand-me-down clothes you take buttons and zippers off of and then use to patch other things with the fabric or make into a quilt - or if it's food.  You can almost always make 'something else' out of whatever is leftover. Our Great Grandma's and Grandma's were awesome at this... it has been lost a little bit along the way, but some of us still think like that and in the horrible economy we've had the last five or six years, more are returning to the old ways of thinking frugally.

When I bought a large watermelon, I thought it would be finished off right away but the melon was larger than our appetites.  This week I cleaned the last half of it, putting cleaned and cut cubes into jars in the refrigerator but still had a nice portion of viable fruit as well as the rinds left.  Although many make watermelon rind pickles, I'm not very lucky with pickles so I opted for something else.  A sauce. 

If you have sliced the dark pink watermelon to serve, don't throw out the rinds before cutting down about 1/2" into them and use the white and light pink portion for this sauce. Don't use the green portion though!  That part is bitter. 

This sauce is much like a spicy plum sauce you could serve with your Chinese Cream Cheese Won Tons.   It's also similar to the ingredients in a watermelon chutney except pureed and cooked down to thicken.  I put a healthy bit of spice to it and used it on grilled chicken but you could also use it for bbq ribs;  beef or pork.  So many things you can use this on.  

If you don't like things too spicy, cut back on the crushed red pepper.  If you don't have crushed red pepper flakes, substitute with a bit of minced jalapeno or if you don't like spice, try some canned green chilies.   I opted to my a syrup from scratch because I wanted to make it with a sugar substitute for less sugar and I don't buy corn syrup.  (I used Just Like Sugar Sweetener) But if you regularly have dark corn syrup on hand, you can use that instead of the sugar/water/cream of tartar syrup.  Lots of ways to play with this and make it your own!


Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Sauce

Watermelon flesh and pink/white rind but don't use any of the bright white or bitter green
1 1/4 c brown sugar (or white sugar and 1 heaping T molasses)
3-4 T water
1/4 t cream of tartar
dash of salt
1/4 c ketchup (reduced sugar is fine too)
1/4 c white vinegar
3/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t liquid smoke flavor (hickory or mesquite)
1/8 t ground black pepper

Chop watermelon and pink/white rind into chunks.  About 3 cups full of chunks.  Place in a food processor and pulse briefly to puree.  You want about a cup full more or less and you want it to stay thick.

To a saucepan on the stove place the brown sugar (or white sugar with molasses added) into a pan.  Add the cream of tartar, dash of salt and about 3-4 T water.  I used a mixture of white and brown sugar but found I was out of molasses. No worries, you are just making a general syrup.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 3 or 4 minutes until it's thickened. Add the watermelon puree, ketchup, vinegar, red pepper flakes, flavoring and pepper.  If you want to use less crushed red pepper flakes you can, or substitute similar measurements of minced jalapeno, canned green chilies, or for a completely sweet sauce, leave out the spice.  Bring to a boil again, reduce to s simmer and let simmer for 1-2 hours until it reduces down, becomes dark and thickens.  The longer you simmer, the thicker and darker it becomes.

I canned mine in sterilized jars with lids and used a water bath process for 30 minutes.  But then we ended up using it that night anyway because it was SO good I couldn't wait!  We used it on grilled chicken (basted, grilled, basted more, grilled more and finally, final basted and served extra with dinner).   We are saving the rest to use with Cream Cheese Won Tons like a spicy, sweet plum sauce.



Making a simple syrup


Cleaning the watermelon

Scraped and chopped. You can use these rinds for watermelon pickles or discard.



Pureed watermelon and the pink/white part of the rind
 
Bringing to a boil

/Simmer until it's as thick as you need or want it to be








I used sugar substitute in my syrup since I don't typically buy corn syrup.

Just Like Sugar Table Top Sweetener
Brown Sweetener:by Just Like Sugar
Ball Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 6


    


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