Glyko Karpouzi is a fruit preserve made with the rind of the watermelon (karpouzi in Greek), so whenever you get a thick skinned watermelon, you can use the rind to make a preserve.
These fruit preserves are called “Glyka tou Koutaliou” in Greek, which translates as “spoon sweets” as they are usually served in a spoon (occasionally with a small fork) as a gesture of hospitality.
They can be made from almost any fruit, though sour and bitter fruits are especially prized. There are even spoon sweets made from vegetables such as carrots, eggplants, tomatoes etc.
Whole fruit preserves can be found in most Greek and Cypriot homes.
They are made by slowly simmering fruit in water and sugar over several hours, until the syrup sets.
A small quantity of lemon juice is often added to preserve the fruit’s original colour, as well as to prevent sugar from crystallizing.
The method of preparation is essentially similar to that of marmalade, except that fruit pieces remain whole.
Some of the fruits that are used include citrus (bitter oranges), grapes, mulberries, bergamot, apricots, cherries, oranges, sour cherries, lemons, pomegranates, quinces, strawberries, apples, dates, figs, prunes, and tangerines.
Other varieties include vegetables, pistachios, hazelnuts, green (immature) walnuts and other nuts, and flower petals like rose or citrus flower blossoms.
Many fruits or parts of fruits that are normally inedible, such as citrus peel and water melon rind, can be made into sweet, flavourful preserves, as can unripe nuts and vegetables.
You can find more information regarding Spoon Sweets in a separate post.
To make the spoon sweets crunchier the fruit or vegetable is soaked in a solution of pickling lime dissolved in water. They let it rest for two or more hours and then the fruit is washed very well before proceeding to make the preserve.
*Quick lime (asvestis) or pickling lime is an ingredient used lots of years ago and back then they would would get it from constructions.
The calcium firms up the vegetable or fruit cell wall, so that it doesn’t get mushy. I do not know where you can find pickling lime abroad but in Cyprus you can now find it in supermarkets.
You can also find it online and in case you cannot find some, the worst that can happen to your spoon sweet is that it will not be very crunchy.
Spoon sweets are usually offered to guests served by the teaspoon in a small china or crystal dish, with coffee or tea and cold water.
Originally they used to serve them in a big bowl where everybody would take a piece from there in order to prove that there was no poison in it.
I remember them served in basket shaped bowls made of pure silver, which had places for the silver spoons to stand round the basket, which was filled with the spoon sweets.
Today’s recipe, “Glyko Karpouzi” is made using the rind of watermelon. In order to make this spoon sweet the rind should be at least two centimetres thick. Cut slices about 6 – 8 cm., and remove the outer green skin and as much red flesh as you can.
Spoon sweets are traditionally served with a cold glass of iced water.
Before going to the recipe, you can also see a revisited recipe of mine made with mini watermelons: Aromatiko Glyko Karpouzi with mini Watermelons (Fruit Preserve).
Spoon sweets do not need to be stored in the refrigerator but watermelon preserve is best if served cold. Karydaki, which means young walnut, is one of the best Greek traditional spoon sweets. The preserve is made with unripe green walnuts at the end of Spring. If your fruit preserves or jams have mildew or if the sugar has crystalized, don't throw them away as these can be easily fixed.
Yield: 2 kilos
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2133 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 77mg Carbohydrates: 554g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 534g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 5g
Spoon sweets do not need to be stored in the refrigerator but watermelon preserve is best if served cold.
Karydaki, which means young walnut, is one of the best Greek traditional spoon sweets. The preserve is made with unripe green walnuts at the end of Spring.
If your fruit preserves or jams have mildew or if the sugar has crystalized, don't throw them away as these can be easily fixed.
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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,