Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Don't throw that rind away. It makes delicious pickles.

I have loved this treat since I was a child. However, I almost wonder if I will be able to continue enjoying it.

Perhaps it is my imagination, but it seems like hybridization results in watermelons with thinner and thinner rinds every year. Every time I pickle watermelon rind, I feel like one of these years I am going to cut into a watermelon and find no rind there to pickle. I certainly wouldn't want that to happen.

The quantities that I list in this recipe are for just 1 quart of rind. Even a fairly small watermelon with thin rind will yield that much.

I believe that the spices that I use are fairly traditional, but you can find a lot of variety. For example, the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has a recipe with only cinnamon, and The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving has a recipe that uses lime instead of lemon.

Pickling watermelon rind is a two day process. On the first day, prepare the rind by removing the green part, and cutting the rind into chunks. Place the rind in a pickling crock, a plastic bowl, or a non-reactive pan. Cover it with a brine made from one quart water, and 1/4 cup pickling salt. Place a plate on top and weight it down to kep the rind submerged. Allow it to sit in a cool place over night.

On the second day, drain and rinse. Cover the rind with fresh water. Boil until it is soft, and drain again. Meanwhile make a syrup of 1 cup vinegar, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1/2 sliced lemon. heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the rind to the syrup and cook until the rind is translucent.

For each pint, place 1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches long), four cloves, and 3 allspice berries in the jar. Use a slotted spoon to add the rind. Cover with syrup leaving 1/2 inch
headspace. Process pints in a water bath for 10 minutes. For quart jars, double the spices and process for 15 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes


  1. WOW!!! How would you describe the taste? Sweet? A pickled taste like with cucumbers?

    When you were a little girl, when did you Mom serve these? At the supper table or for dessert?

  2. They are quite sweet, with some tartness from the vinegar.

    On special occasions, my mother sometimes served them as an appetizer on a relish tray with olives, stuffed celery, etc. They were also nice to have with a sandwich at noon.

    I still bring them to Thanksgiving dinner every year. Some how it just wouldn't be Thansgiving without them.

  3. Years ago these were served wrapped in bacon as an appetizer. Yum!

  4. mom used to make these. Absolutely inspired to wrap them in bacon. Wow!

  5. I just made cinnamon cucumber rings...they taste just like the watermelon pickles. Like vegetable candy!


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