Pickled What? Watermelon Rinds?

Yes, I am serious!
These are awesome!
I know most of y’all have never heard about pickled watermelon rinds and the concept sounds totally bizarre.
As with most oddly intriguing foods, it’s a southern thing apparently.
If you forgot (or are new), I am originally a northerner. And not just any northerner – A New Yorker!
So, we never heard of pickled watermelon rinds either.
Don’t forget, it’s all about time in NY.
There is never enough so there are no homemade biscuits made with pride or amazing fried chicken or sweet tea… all are too labor intensive or take too much time for a Northerner’s schedule.
We moved down south more than 4 years ago (but I always said y’all).

OK, I can babble about anything apparently. Back to the pickles. Besides the fact that they are kinda unusual (which makes for wonderful gifts), they taste amazing AND are cheaper than cucumber pickles to make!

My house always has pickles. My hubby and all 3 boys adore pickles. Hubby is always coming home with more. Generally a locally made brand, Mt. Olive Pickles (which are very yummy, so go look for them next time you’re out). Hubby wanted to show the boys how to make pickles. I should rephrase that. He wanted the boys to see how pickles were made. I rephrased since I’d be the one actually showing them 🙂 So we saved our Mt. Olive pickle jars for “one day”.

One day arrived. I had a plan. I bought the kidlets a seedless watermelon. I cut off all the rind and cubed the melon for them. I saved the rind. Here’s the recipe I used….

B Sunshine recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rinds
Adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation

2 quarts watermelon rind (equal to one medium-sized melon)
3/4 cup salt
3 quarts water
5 cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cloves
6 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
1 tablespoon dried lemon peel

Trim most of the pink flesh from the rind (leaving a trace amount adds a nice color to the pickles). Cut rind into long 1/2″-1″ long strips. This makes it easier to the get the green part of the rind off. Take a vegetable peeler and peel the green off. Cut white rind strips into 2″ pieces (so they are about 1/2″ by 2″).

Combining 3 quarts water and 3/4 cup salt make the brine. Refrigerate for at least five hours but prefer overnight.

Drain; rinse. Cover the watermelon with water and bring to a boil; continue cooking until fork-tender, about another 5-7 minutes. Please note, overcooking will cause the rinds to become rubbery. Drain.

Combine sugar, vinegar, water and spices. Boil 5 minutes and then pour over watermelon. Refrigerate as little as 3 hours (if you have time, overnight works wonderfully).

Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling; reduce heat to medium-high and 15 minutes and pack into hot jars. Cover with boiling syrup. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space (if needed). Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel and seal.

Note: Since we reused commercial jars, the heat sucked in the seal (hot jars+hot pickles). Not that we needed a seal, once they cooled in the fridge, we ate the whole jar!!!

They are cute aren’t they? I will make these again next week and make sure to leave a little pink of each piece. They look best that way! 🙂

A blogger I follow, Cupcake Project, just posted about watermelon today! Her post was how to make Watermelon Syrup from the juice and using the pulp of the watermelon to make Watermelon Butter (like a summer apple butter). So, there is like NO garbage! Use the pulp for butter, the juice for syrup and the rind for pickles! Talk about economical! Add on that fact that one of my favorite foods/flavors/smells is Watermelon, I am in heaven!!!!

  1. July 9, 2010
  2. August 10, 2010

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