When it comes to watermelon, most people slice it into wedges and call it a day. But why stop there? You can also pickle watermelon flesh and rind to create wonderfully crisp condiments (that would be great for a cheese plate). What's more, pickling watermelon rind is an excellent way to cut back on food waste and get the most out of your fresh melon.
If you're new to pickling, don't worry. Both recipes are beginner-friendly and hard to mess up. Simply make a vinegar brine infused with salt, sugar, and spices. Next, marinate the watermelon and rind in the brine in the refrigerator, a process known as quick pickling. After a few days, you'll have a sweet and sour dish that works well as a snack or side.
Things You'll Need
Depending on the size of your watermelon, your batch might yield more or less pickles. Keep a few extra jars on hand in case you have extra pickles or brine.
Add a few sprigs of dill to the bottom of each jar.
Add watermelon to each jar, adding fresh dill halfway. Set aside; do not place it in the refrigerator.
To make the brine, combine the white vinegar, water, sugar, pickling salt, and pickling spice in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, mixing well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Once the brine comes to a boil, remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Carefully pour the brine into the jars, fully covering the watermelon. Top with remaining fresh dill. You'll likely have leftover brine, which you can save for another batch of pickled watermelon (or rind). Cover the jars with airtight lids. Marinate in the refrigerator for one to three days before serving; store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Make sure the jars are at room temperature (not cold) when you add the brine. Otherwise, the hot liquid can cause thermal shock and crack the glass.
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Things You'll Need
Using a paring knife, trim off leftover watermelon flesh from the inside of the rind.
Using a peeler, peel the green skin from the outside of the rind. Compost or discard the green skin.
Cut the rind into 1-inch pieces.
Transfer the rind to a medium pot. Add 2 tablespoons pickling salt, tossing well to coat all the pieces.
Fill the pot with enough water to fully cover the rind pieces. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight.
Drain, then fill the pot with new water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the rind is dark yellow and slightly clear. Drain and set aside.
In a separate pot, combine the white vinegar, water, sugar, 1 tablespoon pickling salt, pickling spice, star anise, and cinnamon stick pieces. (You can also use the leftover brine from the pickled watermelon recipe and add more white vinegar and water, if needed.) Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Transfer the watermelon rind to the jar.
Carefully pour the brine into the jar, adding enough to fully cover the rind. Again, make sure the jars are at room temperature, not cold. Marinate for two to three days in the refrigerator before serving; store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Kirsten Nunez is a journalist and author focusing on food, health, and DIY. In May 2014, she published a craft book, "Studs & Pearls: 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion." Her work has appeared on eHow, PopSugar, Shape, VegNews, and more. She lives in Beacon, New York.