Taught "Pickling Fruits" last night in our Masters Class. I made a big mistake: in the morning, when I was prepping watermelon rind for pickling later, I just wasn't thinking, and simmered the rind in the brine instead of just letting it sit in cold brine. The heat caused the salt to REALLY inhibit the rind, so during class there was no way to get the excess salt out. What a senior moment!!
The students had already put together the watermelon pickling syrup per my instructions when I informed them the rind was too salty. We were also working on pickling pears, but the class required two recipes to be presented. Sooo, I opened the cooler doors and found 5 oranges I'd not used yet. I tossed them on the chopping table and told the students, "We're not done yet! Thinly slice these oranges and we'll use the watermelon syrup for these instead!"
After softening the orange rind by boiling it for a while, we put it in the syrup: vinegar, sugar, cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, whole cloves. For a little flair we decided to add a few TB of brandy and some orange zest.
The result was rockin'! As we waited for the jars to process in the water bath, we all had bowls of vanilla ice cream with pickled pears on one side and spiced oranges on the other. WOW!
If you can enough, you'll make mistakes. Sometimes big ones. I'd spent over an hour prepping the watermelon, so I lost that time. But it was fun showing students how to recognize a mistake, take the loss, and move on to better things!