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.