It has to be my upbringing that finds joy in making something out of nothing, but I confess when this happens it is a pleasure for sure! – read on.
This summer, I was given the gift of sweet homegrown watermelon’s from a friend, and, after enjoying the fruit’s ‘meat’, I was struck by the wasted rind and thought that maybe its time for me to preserve them. – The first time I ever tasted Watermelon Pickles was in a fine dining Southern Restaurant paired with pork belly, and immediately I was intrigued to taste something new. Of course, I wanted to replicate the flavor, and almost 10 years later, I am making pickled watermelon rinds thanks to the slowing down of my pace and our worldwide pandemic.
Preserving is a taste of remembrance of the abundance of summer, and it is an economical way to preserve summer vegetables and fruits in the winter months. My grandmother used to make a pickled relish from her homegrown cabbage, peppers and onions, and there was always so much pride of making something with a relatively low cost. Recently, I discovered that Watermelon Pickles are a wonderful staple within the African American community, and it reminded me of the similar traditions we have in Ireland and of the joy of being creative with ingredients we otherwise would be throwing away.
I made a smaller batch to taste test, but next time I will be doubling or tripling this recipe. Please feel free to multiply this recipe!
(the recipe makes 2 small jars)
- 1 lb of watermelon rind (hard green skin removed)
- (for the soak)
- 3 Tbsp coarse salt
- 6 cups of water
- (for the brine)
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ lemon (thinly sliced)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger (minced)
- 1 cinnamon stick (crushed)
- 1 tsp all spice berries (crushed)
How to make it
- To prepare the watermelon rind, remove the hard-green skin, and take off almost all the red watermelon meat. Cut the rind in to 1 ½ inch length pieces.
- Combine the salt and water in a medium size bowl and add the rind to the brine. Soak for several hours or overnight to soften the rind.
- In a saucepan combine the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, and spices and bring to a boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Drain the watermelon rinds from the overnight soak and rinse under running water. Place the drained watermelon in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for 10 minutes until the rind has softened and is translucent.
- Drain the watermelon rind and then pour over the prepared pickling brine. Simmer the rind and bring for another 15 minutes.
- Prepare sterilized jars. Using a slotted spoon add the watermelon rinds to the jars, and then pour the unstrained syrup to fill the jars. Leaving a ¼ inch space before canning!
Joy in the Journey!
Shamrock and Peach (Judith)