Fruit preserves are made by cooking whole or large pieces of fruit in a thick sugar syrup.
In Cyprus and Greece, these are called spoon sweets (glyko tou koutaliou) because they are served in small plates and they are eaten using small silver spoons. They are all kinds of fruit preserves, each season offers a variety of fruits, like cherries, almonds, quinces, watermelons. Fruit preserves are a very traditional sweet in Cyprus. There is absolutely no way that you visit a traditional tavern in the mountain villages of Cyprus, and not get the chance to taste this divine sweet. When I was a kid, my mother used to make watermelon preserves quite often in the summer, and I remember I used to take a couple of pieces, dip them in a glass of really cold water and eat them. She made watermelon preserve the other day, and trust me, it is not a coincidence that this preserve, is number one on my list of summer fruit preserves.
Making watermelon preserves usually takes the whole day, because there is a special procedure that you follow and the secret for making tasty preseves, probaly lies in the very last step, which is cooking them along with the syrup. So dear Saint followers, buy yourself a quite large watermelon and let the culinary adventure begin!
- 1 kg of watermelon rinds (they must be quite thick, so if the watermelon you bought is not the right one, keep buying until you get lucky)
- 1 sachet of vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 100 g of confectioner's lime
Ingredients for syrup
- 1 kg sugar
- 500 ml water
Clean watermelon rinds of the green part. The rinds must remain white. Cut in medium size squares, wash them really well and put them in a large pot. Mix the confectioner's lime with water and pour it in the pot. (It must cover all rinds very well). The rinds must stay in the lime for about 3 hours. After that, pour out the lime and wash the rinds thoroughly and put them in a pot, covered with water. Let them cook over medium fire for about 20 minutes. Then wash them and make sure there is hardly any water left in the rinds.You might have to squeeze them in your hands to make sure all water is out. Afterwards, you prick them with a fork to make sure that the rinds absorb the syrup in the last stage. Put them in the pot, add the syrup and let it cook for another 30 minutes. Let it cool and cook again for another 30 minutes. Add vanilla and lemon in the last 5 minutes and stir well. Make sure you stick to the cooking time, it is extremely important. When it cools off, place in sterilized jars and store in the fridge.