Every year, we buy a big ole watermelon, make roll kuchen (a Mennonite fry bread), and make a meal of it! But, a big watermelon means a lot of rind that just gets thrown away. That is, until I discovered Watermelon Rind Pickles!
It all started several years ago when we were on vacation, driving through the middle of nowhere, and you guessed it, several of the kids needed to go the bathroom…that very second! The only place we could stop was a little hole-in-the-wall gas station in Gladstone, NM that turned out to be a diamond in the rough! We found so many neat treasures there, including watermelon rind pickles!
We loved them so much, we decided to make our own the following year. I thought it would be a difficult project, but it turned out to be pretty simple. There is something very satisfying about using up every little bit of the food you prepare for your family!
To make these pickles, all you need to do is cut most of the pink off the rind (leave a little for color), peel the green off with a vegetable peeler, and cut into 1″ chunks. Let those soak in the brine solution overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, prepare the pickling liquid, add in the rinsed watermelon chunks, ladle into jars, and process! Easy peasy!
- 16 c. watermelon rind (approx. 1 large watermelon)
- 12 c. water
- 2 c. canning salt (non-iodized)
- 8 c. sugar
- 4 c. white vinegar
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp. whole cloves
- 2 tsp whole peppercorns (optional)
- Trim most of the pink from the rinds and peel the green outer layer with a vegetable peeler.
- Cut rind into 1″ chunks and place in non-reactive bowl.
- Dissolve salt in water, and pour over rind chunks. Set in refrigerator overnight.
- On Day 2, drain and rinse the rind thoroughly.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Add rinds to the boiling mixture, return to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Ladle hot mixture into sterilized canning jars (I used 4 quart sized jars), leaving 1/2″ headspace. Wipe rims, add lids, and screw on bands to fingertip tight.
- Process in a waterbath for 10 minutes.
- Remove from waterbath, and cool completely.
Don’t want to make pickles?
Here’s a Watermelon Rind Smoothie recipe that looks worth a try!