Friday, 30 September 2016

Watermelon Patch

Watermelon patch; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
During the high humidity and temperatures of late August and early September, hubby and I took to evening walks when the summer swelter had abated somewhat. One evening I spotted a mysterious front yard plant whose leaves intrigued me. Hubby knew what it was in an instant: a watermelon plant. The light was dim and I didn't have a camera, so I had to go back the next afternoon in the unfortunate heat, but it was worth it. 

I couldn't believe that I had never seen a watermelon plant, even though the fruit is significant to Mennonites and my family. My Opa loved loved loved watermelon. According to family lore, he would stash his crop covered in straw in the hayloft on the ground floor of the barn and disappear after lunch for some secret sweet sustenance. My Thiessen clan would gather for spontaneous Roll Kuchen and Arbuzen (watermelon) suppers. Some Mennonites made watermelon syrup when they had a more than sufficient crop. It's made like maple syrup: take a lot of watermelon pulp and boil it down until it forms a syrup, then can it as you would peaches or cherries. Watermelon syrup cake is mighty delicious, as is pickled watermelon.

The long story short is that I have a new leaf to explore and interpret for my accidental Mennonite series and it's a very satisfying leaf to work with.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

You've got me craving watermelon now! Watermelon syrup cake sounds delicious as does simple watermelon syrup. I added chunks of watermelon and mint to water this summer in hopes of getting my daughters to drink more water. It worked. Thanks for sharing this. Enjoy!