He hauled melons to Charleston, where James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock, owner of McCrady's Restaurant , took 50 and crafted watermelon molasses and pickles to serve at his famous eatery. She crafted jars of traditional Southern pickled watermelon rinds, as well as watermelon jam. Nat Bradford holds a Bradford watermelon, known for its sweet, fragrant red flesh. Courtesy of Bradford Watermelons hide caption. Another melons were carted to High Wire Distilling Co. The fruit was more than just a savory summer treat — its sweet juice was routinely boiled into molasses or distilled into brandy for cocktails garnished with fruit and syrup, and the smooth soft rinds were pickled. For the rest of the century, the Bradford survived only because family members went on planting it in their backyards and saving seeds — making sure to plant it at least a mile from any other melon, so that it wouldn't cross-pollinate and lose its purity. Though there are literally hundreds of watermelon cultivars in America today — ranging from the supersized Sangria to the delicate Sugar Baby and the common supermarket icebox varieties — the Bradford was in a class all of its own.
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