I adore this old-fashioned recipe for zingy pickled watermelon rinds for so many reasons, but here are just a few of them:
It makes use of something that might normally be tossed in the compost bin.
The pickles aren't just tasty; they're quite pretty too.
When I give jars of Watermelon Rind Pickles to people, they're often taken aback to see something they haven't seen since childhood - since their Grandma used to show them off on her holiday relish tray.
Makes approximately 3 pints
First, the watermelon rind:
8 cups prepared* watermelon rind cubes (from a 5 lb. watermelon)
1/2 cup pickling salt
2 quarts water
3 cups white or brown sugar (or combination to equal 3 cups)
3 cups white vinegar
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1 teaspoon whole cloves
*Remove the green skin and pink flesh from the white rind.
Note: Prepare canning jars and keep hot until ready to use; prepare lids according to the manufacturer's instructions.
1.) Cut the rind into 1 inch cubes/chunks. Soak the chunks overnight in a brine made by mixing the salt and water together.
2.) The next day, drain the watermelon rind chunks, put them into a large pot, and cover with fresh water. Bring to boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and then simmer until tender. Drain again.
3.) While rind is simmering, make a syrup with the sugar(s), vinegar, lemon slices and spices (in a saucepan large enough to hold the chunks). Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the rinds and cook until the are clear.
4.) Pack the rind mixture into hot, sterilized pint jars and fill with syrup, leaving about 1/2" headspace.
5.) Using a chopstick or plastic knife, pop any air bubbles you might see in the syrup.
6.)Wipe rims spotlessly clean and place a sealing lid on top the jar. Next, screw a band onto the jar until it's "finger-tight".
7.) Process jars in a Boiling Water Bath for 10 minutes (half pints) and 15 minutes (pints).
8.) Remove from the Boiling Water Bath using jar-lifter tongs and place on a towel, preferably in a draft-free place, for 24 hours.
9.) Test lids for a proper seal: press down on the center of the lid. If it stays down, it is sealed. If it flexes up & down, it is not sealed.
> If jars lids are properly sealed the contents will keep for one year in a cool, dark place. If jar lid failed to seal during processing, place it in your refrigerator and eat within 3 months, or within one month of opening.