These pickled watermelon rinds are the perfect combination of sweet and tart, with an unexpected texture that is the perfect accompaniment for an array of dishes!
Watermelon is arguably THE fruit of summer, and with summer coming to an end, I’m getting as much watermelon as I can these days. Its juicy, refreshing, and perfectly sweet appeal is pretty hard to beat on a hot summer day. When I bring home a watermelon, I’ll peel it and cut into cubes. That way, I have easy access to snack on it or to make something out of it (like this watermelon refresher). I don’t think there was a time this summer that my fridge was ever watermelon-less. This obsession with watermelon yields a TON of watermelon rind that gets thrown out. It crossed my mind recently that I could do something with it, so I googled “watermelon rind,” and happened upon tons of options. I love pretty much anything pickled, so the obvious choice for me was to make pickled watermelon rind.
I loosely based my recipe off of this one by Alton Brown. I halved the recipe, using half of my recipe for watermelon rinds and the other half for random veggies I had in my fridge (onion, carrots, cucumber, jalepeno). So basically this recipe is for 1/2 a watermelon (or 1/4 watermelon, plus other pickling veggies).
First, prepare your watermelon rind. Scoop the flesh out of your watermelon, leaving 1/4″ – 1/2″ of the flesh on the rind. Remove the outer green layer of the rind using a vegetable peeler or knife (I found the knife to work much better). Cube the rind to about 1″ x 1″ pieces. Then prepare your pickling liquid. Combine your rice wine vinegar, white vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pickling spices and ginger in a pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. I used 1/2 rice wine vinegar and 1/2 white vinegar because I just love the flavor of rice wine vinegar. Feel free to follow the original recipe with apple cider vinegar or all white vinegar – it really just depends on what taste you’re going for. About the ginger, the original recipe calls for candied ginger, which would be a really nice addition, but I didn’t have any, so I just used fresh ginger. Once your pickling liquid is boiling, let is boil for about 1 minute. Then carefully add your watermelon rind cubes into the pickling liquid, and let it come to a boil again. Once it reaches a boil, remove from heat, and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Transfer to a jar or airtight container. Let it cool to room temp, and move it to the refrigerator. Keep refrigerated, and enjoy for 3-4 weeks.
You might be wondering, what in the world do pickled watermelon rinds taste like? The texture is fun because you have the more tender part of the watermelon flesh (this was surprisingly my favorite part), combined with the tougher portion of the rind. When I was researching about watermelon rinds, people likened it to a cucumber. When it’s pickled it is tougher than a normal pickle, but still enjoyable. The sweetness of the watermelon is still evident even after the pickling process, but the added tartness of the vinegars balances it quite nicely. You can enjoy these pickled watermelon rinds like you would any other pickle- on sandwiches, salads, basically anything that could use a pop of flavor or texture. I ate mine with my dinner cheese platter- it was the perfect accompaniment for the richness of the cheese. ENJOY!
- Rind of half a watermelon
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar*
- 1/4 white vinegar*
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp pickling spices
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- Prepare your watermelon rind. Leave about 1/4" - 1/2" of flesh on watermelon rind. Peel outer green layer using paring knife or vegetable peeler.
- In a small pot, mix rice wine vinegar, white vinegar, water, sugar, pickling spices, sugar and ginger slices. Bring to boil, and let boil for 1 minute.
- Carefully place prepared watermelon rind in vinegar mixture, and let it come to a boil again. Remove from heat, and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Place cooled watermelon rind in a pickling jar and pour as much liquid as fits in the jar. Let it come to room temp, then move to the refrigerator.
- Keep refrigerated; good for 3-4 weeks.
- *You can use 1/2 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead of using 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar + 1/4 cup white vinegar.