Thursday, July 28, 2011

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Due to a somewhat extreme case of the lazies during planting season this year, our garden is pretty much nonexistent. But I still get the urge to preserve summer's bounty. So in the absence of homegrown produce, I got creative and used what we had. We bought a watermelon a couple days ago, and after we ate it I got the crazy urge to look up recipes for watermelon rind pickles. Here's the result.

Watermelon Rind Pickles
1 large watermelon
1/2 cup salt
2 1/2 quarts water, divided
2 1/4 cups cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. whole cloves

Cut pulp from watermelon rind, leaving a small amount of red pulp on rind. Reserve pulp for another use (if you haven't already eaten it). Remove hard green outer rind. Cut rind into 1-inch cubes, and place in a large bowl.

Stir together salt and 2 quarts water. Pour over rind. Cover and chill 8 hours. Drain; rinse well.

Combine rind with water to cover in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Combine remaining 2 cups water, vinegar, and next 4 ingredients in Dutch oven or very large saucepan.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture becomes a thin syrup. Add rind, and simmer 5 to 6 minutes or until rind becomes translucent.

Pack hot rind mixture into hot jars, distributing spices evenly and filling to 1/2 inch from top. Remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims. Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands. Process in boiling water bath 20 minutes.


Jeroen said...

Wow, I've never seen a recipe like it. I was at first surprised by the fact that you can pickle fruit, but am especially surprised by the huge amount of salt. Can you describe the taste of the end result?

Stephanie said...

The taste reminds me a bit of pickled beets. Sweet, tangy, vinegary, a little salty.

The salt really isn't overpowering - since you drain off the salt brine and rinse the watermelon rind before you cook it. The saltwater brine just helps to keep the rind from getting too soft when you cook it.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick question..In the directions it says distributing lemon and spices evenly...what lemon?

Stephanie said...

Whoops - in the original recipe I used there were slices of lemon. But I didn't have any, so I didn't use it and didn't include it in the recipe. If you want to, thinly slice a lemon and add it with the water, vinegar, and spices.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to try it. Watermelon is one of my favourite fruits. :)

cathy said...

We've made this recipe for a couple of years now. Add about 1/2 cup of thinly sliced lemon with the rind. Its wonderful and different. The lemon pickels up well and has a flavor you would never expect.