Watermelon peel sweets

Tonia Buxton shares her Aunt Stavroulla?s recipe for ?Glyko tou garbouzi?, a favourite Greek spoon sweet
By Tonia Buxton
Watermelon peel sweets
  • Rating:
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus soaking time
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 large watermelon
  • 1 tbsp citric acid
  • 800 g sugar
  • 400 ml water
  • 4 lemon geranium leaves, (thuli)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 lemon, juice only

Tips and Suggestions

Spoon sweets or preserves are a traditional Greek specialty, served to guests as a symbol of hospitality, in a crystal dish accompanied by a glass of iced water. The sweet is eaten with a teaspoon, hence the name 'spoon sweet'. The water is drunk and the teaspoon is placed in the glass. The sweets can be made out of a variety of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as baby aubergines, peel from bitter oranges, cherries, apricots, cherry tomatoes, pistachios and watermelon rind, to name but a few.


1. Using a sharp knife, cut away the green skin and red flesh from the watermelon. You will now be left with the white pith section of the peel. Cut this into diamond shapes about 4 x 4cm. Use the point of the knife to make a tiny deep slit into the side of each piece.

2. Put the peel pieces into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Stir in the citric acid and leave for 1 hour.

3. Drain the peel into a large colander and rinse under cold water. Return to the bowl, cover with fresh cold water and leave to soak for a further 30 minutes, then drain thoroughly.

4. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a large saucepan, then bring to a gentle simmer. Add the drained peel, lemon geranium, vanilla and lemon juice, cover and slowly simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Cool, then bring the mixture back to a simmer, cover and slowly cook for 1? hours. When ready, the 'glyko' turns a shade of deep amber/pink and has a candied appearance. Transfer to sterilised jars and store in the fridge.

6. To serve, offer 2-3 pieces in a bowl with a drizzle of syrup - and always accompanied with a glass of iced water.

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