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Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Don't toss those watermelon rinds - pickle them instead.

I only started canning about a year ago, but in that time I've made various jams, jellies and marmalades.

Out of everything I tried, I think these Watermelon Rind Pickles are my favorite. They are a nice alternative to regular pickles when accompanying burgers on the grill - sweet and tangy with a hint of spice.

If you choose a watermelon with a nice thick rind, your pickles will be firm with a bit of crunch.

Canning the watermelon pickles involves a process spread over the course of three days, so you do need to set aside a block of time for them on each of three successive days, but the steps are pretty straightforward.

(scroll down for the printable recipe card)

Pickled Watermelon Rinds

(yields 3-4 pints)

What you Need |

1/2 cup pickling lime
1/2 large watermelon or one medium melon (to yield about 8 cups of rind cubes)
2 tablespoons whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups white vinegar

What you Do |

Day 1

Completely remove the green skin from the watermelon and discard, trying to leave as much rind intact as possible. Scrape out any remaining flesh, so all you have left is the white rind.  Dice the rind into 1" cubes.  

Whisk the pickling lime into 4 cups of water in a large bowl and add the rind cubes.  Cover bowl and let sit overnight on the counter.

Be sure to chop up any leftover rind, skin or flesh for your chickens or ducks. They will love it!

Day 2

Drain the rind and rinse well., then place in a large saucepan and cover completely with water.  Bring to a boil, then drain again and rinse. Set aside.

To the saucepan, add 2 cups water, sugar and vinegar. Place the cloves and cinnamon on the cheesecloth and tie the corners together with twine to form a sachet.

Place the sachet into the saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture, spice sachet included, over the rind and let sit overnight covered.

Day 3

Sterilize your pint canning jars in your water bath canner, covering them with water and bringing to a boil. Meanwhile, return the rind and spiced liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Cook until the rind is translucent but not mushy, 8-10 minutes.

Remove your jars from the water bath. Remove the spice bag and pack the rind cubes into the hot jars leaving 1/2 inch at the top.

Ladle the hot syrup over the cubes to cover them completely. Slide a butter knife inside the jar walls to remove air bubbles.

Screw on the jar lids, place in the water-bath, cover and process for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat, remove the cover and let the jars sit for 5 additional minutes. Carefully remove the jars, and let them cool. Your pickled watermelon is ready to eat. 

Store the jars in a cool, dry place. The pickles should last for up to 18 months unopened. Once opened, the jars need to be refrigerated.

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