In a Pickle, a Watermelon Rind Pickle


Post by community member:

Pickled watermelon rind is one of those things you either adore or you think those of us who do adore it are nuts! For me, it evokes childhood memories of being around some outstanding country cooks who didn’t waste anything. When the summer produce started coming in, that which wasn’t canned or made into jam, including using the pits and peels of everything to make jelly, was pickled.

You can multiply this recipe as you need to depending upon the size of the watermelon and your attention span. Both times I’ve made these I’ve spread the peeling process out over the first day, ended up with about 2 quarts or so of rind from a fairly small melon, and began the brine soaking at night, finishing up the second day.

How to make Pickled Watermelon Rind:

1 quart watermelon rind chunks
1 quart water
1/4 cup pickling salt or Kosher salt
1 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 sliced lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
8 cloves
6 allspice berries

Day 1: Prepare the rind by removing the green part and cutting the rind into uniform-sized chunks. Some instructions say to completely remove all pink flesh, but a little bit adds interest to the pickle. The easiest way to peel the rind is to cut strips, then cut the chunks, then remove a thin layer, just enough to remove the very outside of the green peel, from each chunk separately.  It is tough stuff, so use a sturdy paring knife.

Place the rind in a pickling crock, a plastic bowl, or a non-reactive pan. Cover it with a brine made from the one quart water, and 1/4 cup pickling salt. Place a plate on top and weigh it down to keep the rind submerged. Allow it to sit in a cool place over night or at least 8 hours.

Day 2: Drain and rinse the rind. Place the rind in a cooking pot and cover 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 the 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), 4 cloves, and 3 allspice berries into a pint jar. For each quart, place 2 cinnamon sticks, 8 cloves, and 6 allspice berries in a quart jar. Use a slotted spoon to add the rind. Cover with syrup leaving 1/2-inch headspace. BWB pints for 10 minutes, quart jars for 15 minutes.

So what do you do with pickled watermelon rind? You can serve it on any relish tray, have it with a not-so-traditional antipasto course, or as a side with a sandwich. My favorite time to have a piece of pickled watermelon rind is in the evening following a heavy meal when I still want a little something sweet but there is no room for dessert!

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Pickled Watermelon Rind

What is your favorite way to serve or eat pickled watermelon rind?

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  1. Sharon mommafox says:

    My favorite way to eat watermelon rind pickles is on a peanut butter sandwich! Yuuuummmmy

  2. judydee says:

    Cut each chunk into smaller dice. Mix with diced leftover rotisserie chicken and a little celery seed (add some curry powder if your family is adventurous). Makes a different chicken salad.

  3. Patrice says:

    I love watermelon rind pickles. I’m really bummed this year because our melons have very little rind. I keep hoping one will have enough!

  4. CindyP says:

    I hadn’t heard of pickled watermelon rind before CitR! You southerners have been killing me with all this new stuff! 🙂 It’s probably up north here, too, and I just haven’t noticed it! 🙂 Have got to get me a watermelon!

  5. Dede ~ wvhomecanner says:

    Well, Sharon, you may have given me the kick to try these pickles – because peanut butter and Bread n Butter pickles are one of MY favs LOL!

  6. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    My mom makes watermelon rind preserves. The recipe is a lot like that one but more of a jellyish outcome that’s wonderful on toast. I’ll get the recipe from her and post it so we’ll have two uses for the rinds. I’m definitely going to try the pickles!

  7. JoLinda says:

    I can remember my Little Granny making us eat watermelon so she could have the rinds. I never ate them but would gladly get her the rinds she needed.

  8. Sue says:

    Finally, after many years of looking for this recipe of pickled watermelon rinds it pops up! Here’s the story. For 12 years my husband and I participated in Civil War reenacting. Every summer a group of us would make a trip to Gettysburg to walk the battlefields and take in the rich history of the area. On one particular trip we made reservations at the Farnsworth House Inn where they specialize in Civil War dining with menus taken from that era. Every course of the meal was more delicious than the one before it. The last thing to be served was a small crystal bowl with about 3 bitesize servings of the most exquisite dessert I have ever tasted. I did not recognize what it was and asked one of the servers about the dessert and she told me that it was pickled watermelon rinds and that it was made right there in their own kitchens. She said that back in the days of the war that everything possible was used and not wasted in the kitchen. I tried to get the recipe but with a packed house was not able to do it. So after all these years I now have the recipe and cannot wait to try it out! Thanks Pete!

  9. Pete says:

    Thanks for all the great ideas! Looking forward to the watermelon preserves recipe as well.

    I sort of doubt that they used lemon in the pickle during the civil war, so leaving it out may make a more authentic recipe. (Lemon wasn’t in what I ate as a child, either.) It is delicious either way.

    And just so everyone knows, I usually do half pints instead of pints, just reducing the amount of spices accordingly, but I still process for the full 10 minutes.

  10. bonita says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…..watermelon pickle has been on my mind for the last two months. It’s iust like coriander—you either love it or loathe it.

  11. geedaisy says:

    My recipe for watermelon rind pickles has a little less spices in it. I often dice them and use them as I would sweet relish in deviled eggs, etc.

  12. kellyb says:


    This is too uncanny. One of the guys asked me if I had a recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rind. I know somewhere I have my grandmother’s recipe but I couldn’t put my fingers on it. Look what I found on CiTR today. I sent this to him and he says it looks very similar to his grangmother’s recipe. So a big thank you from me and my co-worker.

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