I’ve always heard that pickled watermelon rind is a southern thing but often wondered why that is. I know pickled things are the perfect pairing with all sorts of foods because they can add and alter the taste of foods taking something good and making it something great.
As for this house, pickled watermelon rind is often served alongside Asian foods or with tacos. It adds a really nice sweet, salty, vinegary bite to whatever I add it to. It also gets bonus points for using up something that is normally tossed. If I’m paying for it, I try to use it. Even if that means getting fed to the chickens! They do make some awesome compost for me after all.
Pickled watermelon rind is pretty easy to make. Start by peeling off the dark green “skin” of the rind as it lets the vinegar mixture penetrate better in a short amount of time. You can choose to leave some of the pink flesh on, or only use the pale green rind that is left behind. No matter which you choose though, you’ll want to cut the rind into pieces that are roughly the same size, about 1/2 inch to 1-inch square.
It doesn’t take much watermelon rind to make up the four cups needed for this recipe. The last time I made it, I used maybe 1/4 of the watermelon. If you find you absolutely love pickled watermelon rind, you can always water bath can it. Then you’ll have it during the cold of winter when watermelons are a distant dream.
The rest of the recipe is fairly simple. First, slice your ginger into 1/4 inch slices and add that to a pot with the rest of the spices, salt, sugar, vinegar, and water. Bring the whole mixture to a full rolling boil before adding in the rind. Let the mixture return to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover your pot and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Once the 30 minutes are up, carefully transfer everything to a heat-safe quart jar, put a lid on and let it sit until it’s cooled to room temp before popping it in the fridge. Pickled watermelon rind should last several weeks in the fridge if you don’t eat it all before then!
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- 4 cups watermelon rind (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 3 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 star anise pod
- 1 tsp allspice berries
- 1 inch piece of ginger (sliced)
- Peel the dark green from the watermelon rind and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. You can leave a bit of the red flesh, or remove it completely.
- In a large sauce pan, bring the apple cider vinegar, water, salt, sugar and spice to a rolling boil.
- Add in the watermelon rind and return it back to a boil.
- Remove from heat, place a lid on the pan and let cool for 30 minutes before packing it into a quart jar or two pint jars.
- Cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge to store.