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
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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