Watermelon Jelly Recipe

watermelon jelly

When I think of fruits that are good for preserving, watermelon is not one that immediately springs to mind. Truly, it’s not something I would have even considered putting in my jam pot, had it not been for a request from my fellow former Slashfoodie, Stef from Cupcake Project.

She was trying to find a way to make a watermelon cupcake that tasted fully of the melon, without resorting to an additives not found in nature. One of her readers suggested using a watermelon jelly, and so she made a request of me. Would I be up for trying to create one that she could use in a cake?

watermelon jelly

I’m always up for a challenge and so took a stab. During the cooking, I was racked with anxieties, as the watermelon juice took on a slightly strange scent once hot. I used pectin and took the syrup all the way up to 220 degrees, in the hopes of getting a good, jellied set.

watermelon jelly

Only when I checked the jars the morning after canning, they hadn’t set solidly. The contents were thick, but still loose. I sighed and tucked the jars away, figuring I’d need to try again. However, before I managed to make another batch, I returned to the first set of jars and discovered that while they’d been sitting, the pectin had activated and they’d jelled perfectly. Upon tasting, I was happy to find that jelly was spreadable, sweet, tart and deeply watermelon-y. Another version of summer in a jar. I’m sold!

Watermelon Jelly

Yield: Makes 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pints

Ingredients

  • 6 cups pureed watermelon (remove any seeds prior to pureeing)
  • 5 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1 packet powdered pectin

Instructions

  1. Whisk together sugar and powdered pectin until they are fully integrated. Combine watermelon puree, sugar/pectin and lemon juice in a large, non-reactive pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature of the nascent jelly reaches 220 degrees. This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on the width of your pot, the heat of your stove and even the weather you’re having. Check set using saucer test before removing it from the heat, to ensure that it will set.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  4. When time is up, remove from canner and let jars cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. You can eat immediately or store unopened jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Notes

*This jelly can take up to one week to set. Please give it time.

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78 Responses to Watermelon Jelly Recipe

  1. 51
    Stephanie says:

    I ran across the watermelon jam. It sounds delicious. I have never thought about canning except that my grandmother use to do it. Since looking at your site, I have found that this sounds interesting.
    Could you tell me the best way to get started for someone who knows nothing about canning?

    Thanks,

    Stephanie

  2. 52
    Christine says:

    Rebecca, did it work? Mine never did set.

  3. 53
    Christine says:

    Last night I opened all of the jars, reheated the jelly to 220 degrees with another packet of pectin, added juice from half a lime (and a little extra sugar), and re-canned. It was already starting to set by the time I went to bed, and the yummy “extra” I’d put in the fridge last night was fully set this morning.

  4. 54
  5. 55
    Miriam says:

    This sounds AMAZING! I can’t wait to try it. I have a question. Do you think you could adjust this recipe to make a Cantaloupe Jelly?

  6. 56
    Emily says:

    I’ve been so so excited to try this recipe! I could hardly wait till summer. Unfortunately, I had a few hangups- like some others, my jelly did not set up even after waiting a week. I think perhaps, this may be due to differing water content of the watermelons based on variety and ripeness (though this is totally a guess). I used a seedless watermelon to try to avoid the annoying de-seeding process, but although they are quite soft and edible there ARE still seeds in them which don’t look very nice chopped up in the jar. So I decided to re-can them. I poured them into the pot and heated to a boil then strained them- this not only removed those totally-edible-but-unsightly-”seedless”-seeds, but also removed the watermelon pulp which can have a somewhat mealy texture. I also added 6 additional tablespoons of (fresh this time) lemon juice to add a more clean fresh summer-y taste and take away that “jolly-rancher-ish” edge. I then brought the juice up to 220 and added another packet of pectin and jarred and process- and they gelled great! I was worried about the off-putting smell of the cooked watermelon, but honestly, it just kinda smells like raw vegetables- but no worries- still tastes like watermelon in the end. In conclusion- Great Recipe!!!- I had to make a couple adjustments to suit my tastes, but I am so happy to now have “summer in a jar”

  7. 57
    Norma Davenport says:

    I just took 7 jelly jars out of the canner and all have sealed. Whoo Hoo! As advertised it did smell funky when it got good and hot but it smelled just like the rind did when I pickled it and that turned out really good. I have a small quantity, not even 1/4 cup in the fridge and it seems to be setting up nicely. It it doesn’t set it will be labled Watermelon syrup and used to flavor drinks and go over ice cream, cake and other stuff. I reduced a 20 +lb watermelon into 16 pints of sweet rind pickles and 7 jelly jars of beautifully clear jelly/syrup. Very little waste to that mellon, and yes we ate till we couldn’t eat any more of the wonderful sweet meat and shared it with many friends.

  8. 58

    It certainly DOES have a strange smell while cooking, but the taste is wonderful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I used key lime juice in mine, and used my bulk jelly recipe with bulk Ball pectin. Perfect set! The taste is outstanding! I got nearly 13 cups. I can’t wait to sell this at the farmer’s market next week!

  9. 59
    Teauteau says:

    I thought the idea of watermelon jelly was awesome. Still do however, mine has never set up after almost two weeks. I had a huge seedless watermelon out of which I obtained nearly 2 gallons of juice. I kept one gallon bag of juice in the freezer for another project and used about 10 cups of juice with 10 cups of sugar and two packs of the liquid pectin. Is it the liquid pectin that was the problem or what do you think? I followed the instructions on the boil, etc., but I did not use the candy thermometer (I have one…). I am willing to go back and empty the jars and recook if that will be safe. I have a small jelly business and this would be a great addition. Looking forward to any helpful hints! Thanx!

    • 59.1
      marisa says:

      It sounds like you had far too much volume in the pot. It’s incredibly hard to get enough evaporation when you’ve got so much depth to surface area. What’s more, I find powdered pectin far more reliable for jelly than liquid.

  10. 60
    Ann says:

    I’m giving this a try right now. The jars are in the water bath. I used one of those personal-sized “seedless” melons and since I didn’t have anything to puree it with, I just crushed the fruit as well as a I could with the bottom of a clean glass. I also didn’t remove most of the seeds in the interest of saving time, so I’m hoping they’ll rise to the top of the jelly and then they can just be scooped out. This should be interesting.

  11. 61
    Ann says:

    PS- I halved the recipe (since the watermelon only contained about 3 cups of fruit) but while doing so, I forgot to halve the pectin, so I ended up still using the whole box. I’m hoping that will mean I won’t have to cook everything a second time to get it to gel, but it’s still kind of watery (though it’s only day 2 so I’m prepared to wait).

  12. 62
    Jenn D says:

    Just made mine and am sealing them. This is only my second jam/jelly and starting with 6 cups of puree ( had to strain mine as the chunkiness was bugging me) I only got a pint and 1/4 at the end. Did I cook it too slow? It seemed to take forever to reach temp.

  13. 63
    Christal says:

    Hi, Marissa – did any of your jelly not get eaten right away ;) – and stay shelf-stable for a long time? I would probably give some of these as Christmas gifts this year, but would make it this week… thanks so much for posting this recipe :)

  14. 64

    [...] have plenty of watermelon to take photos of, so that will be fun. Did you know you can make Watermelon Jelly? It’s true. I’ll have to try [...]

  15. 65
    Big V says:

    The only problem with this jelly is that it tastes like watermelon rind. The juice/pulp (both of them) changes character when you heat it up. It does not taste good at all.

    • 65.1
      Big V says:

      Oh, I forgot to mention that the off flavor does not return to normal upon cooling.

  16. 66
    Angela says:

    I am VERY new to canning (thanks to Marisa’s class). Have made a preserve and some butters to much success and was excited to try the watermelon jelly. The mixture took very long to cook and never got past 200 degrees. Then all of a sudden I got a burnt smelling rock hard mess. I knew it was taking too long but I was trying to get to the 220 temperature. Maybe to high? Any tips for jelly making that I am missing? Thanks for any help.

  17. 67

    [...] watermelon jam. Who knew? I got the idea from Food in Jars but this recipe is adapted from the Heirloom Watermelon Jelly from Put ‘Em Up. I picked this [...]

  18. 68

    [...] Blondie’s Cakes and Things Watermelon Jelly adapted from Food in Jars makes about 7 eight ounce [...]

  19. 69

    [...] Speaking of watermelon, have you ever heard of watermelon jelly?  I hadn’t, which is why I’m intrigued by this Watermelon Jelly recipe from Food in Jars. [...]

  20. 70

    [...] my research, I came across a blog that had made watermelon jelly and I was both surprised and delighted to find that she had created her Watermelon Jelly for [...]

  21. 71

    [...] a woman after my own heart). She not only agreed to make some watermelon jelly and post the watermelon jelly recipe on Food in Jars, but she offered to send me a jar!  She’s the best – really!  Go read her [...]

  22. 72

    [...] that pin back out, and read up on everything watermelon jam-y. The recipe in that post is based on one from another blog, and after reading them both, I was [...]

  23. 73

    […] she wrote a post on how to make watermelon jelly.  Being a watermelon fan, I know I’m going to have to try this at some point.  I […]

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