I had heard of pickling water melon rind, I thought there had to be something more to do with them other than compost or a treat for the dog and once I saw pictures of how beautiful they look in jars, I knew we needed them for the wedding.
I haven’t found as many uses for these as the other pickles, but they are pretty and nice to have a pic-nic for eating on their own. Even with half the sugar they are a sweet treat.
I started with Paula Dean’s Recipe and then made a few adjustments (of corse I forgot to take a picture of mine). Below, I wrote down my adjusted version of her recipe.
4 quarts white parts of the watermelon rind, cut into “pickle spears” (Paula does 1″ cubes)
1 cup kosher salt
1 gallons of water (2 gallons divided if you want to brine the rinds first)
3 cups white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole, black (Paula used assorted color) peppercorns
3 1/2 cups sugar (half of Paula’s, her recipe makes it almost a syrup)
12 8oz canning jars (Paula used 3, 1 quart jars, but 8oz are better for gifts)
Paula starts by soaking the rinds in a brine over night, I skipped this step on accident, but they came out delicious so I now consider it an optional step.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook watermelon rinds with remaining one gallon of water. Cook the rinds until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Return the saucepan to heat and add vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add watermelon rinds and cook until transparent, about another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want a pink color to the rinds you can also add red food coloring or beet juice at this stage, but I chose to leave them natural.
Sterilize jars and lids and fill while rinds are still hot. Pour liquid over rinds, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top so they can seal. Process in a boiling water bath (making sure water level is 1 inch over the top of the jars) for 10-12 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool on the counter overnight.
If you are going to eat them right away, you can skip the sterilizing and processing and put them in the refrigerator after they cool. They will be ready to eat next day and good for about a month.