Thursday, August 19, 2010

Watermelon Update

Here is the smaller of my two watermelons when I cut it open. Look! It worked! It's a real watermelon! This melon was nice and sweet, but with lots of small seeds (I guess mini melons also make mini seeds) in meandering, irregular rows (most watermelons have their seeds in neat, regular rows). Oh well, at least it was edible. I will assume the larger, prettier one is even better. Alas, as you can see from the picture, the rind is so thin as to be pretty much useless for pickling.

Speaking of pickles, I also tried one of my watermelon rind pickles, from the not-quite-full-enough jar that ended up in the fridge instead of being canned. It was good too! So much for having to wait until Christmas for decent flavor. And to my relief, it wasn't apple pie filling-like at all. The pickle was nice and crisp (from now on I'm always using Pickle Crunch for my pickles!) and tasted like a bread and butter pickle, maybe a little sweeter, but had a definite vinegar tang. I could see it easily working as a culinary stand-in for bread and butter cucumber pickles. Gosh, I LOVED bread and butter pickles when I was a kid. Ah, memories.

I'm still in the market for a better watermelon variety, though. Blacktail Mountain seems too "modern", with it's thin rind and miniature size and 76 day maturation time. I'm thinking I could do fine growing an old fashioned, great big watermelon with big, fat, spittable seeds and a thick rind for pickle-making. Blacktail Mountain's place seems to be more for Northern growers who need a fast-maturing melon that tolerates chilly nights (after all, it was developed in Idaho). Not my problem here in Texas. Two small melons and vines that died as soon as the weather got hot just didn't impress me. But that's the great thing about heirloom and open-pollinated fruit and vegetable varieties, they are NOT one size fits all.

At least, I really hope that was my problem here, and not that I just have a black thumb when it comes to watermelons. This was my first watermelon-growing adventure, after all. I'm just left wondering that if I grew a bigger variety, would I have still ended up with only two fruits, except those fruits would have been 30 or 40 pounds instead of 6? I would be ok with that. Ending up with NO fruits, that would be a problem.

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