Watermelon season is the best season. Once you've picked the perfect watermelon (preferably from the roadside stand or the farmer selling melons out of the back of his pickup), all that's left to do is let it chill. But when you've finished all your slices of watermelon, what do you do with the rind? Don't throw it away! You can make watermelon rind pickles and turn what once was leftovers into another delicious summer treat.

Pickled watermelon rind is a classic Southern recipe. It may sound a little weird, but the rind is full of great health benefits including fiber, potassium, and vitamins B and C. The rind is completely edible and because it's so crisp, it holds up to the pickling process well. Plus, once you give it the pickling treatment, watermelon rind is so good.

How To Pickle Watermelon

When you're done with your watermelon, use a vegetable peeler to cut off the green outer skin. You want the white part of the rind, with just a little bit of pink flesh of the watermelon left. Cut the rind into 1- by 2-inch pieces. Combine 8 cups water and two tablespoons kosher salt in a large pot and bring the water to a boil. Add the rind pieces and boil until tender, for a total time of about five minutes.

Drain the liquid and reserve it. Put the rinds in a large metal bowl. Pour the reserved liquid into a saucepan with the apple cider vinegar, sugar, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, whole allspice, ginger, and pickling spice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let it simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is slightly reduced.

Pour the liquid into the bowl over the watermelon rinds. Put a plate in the bowl on the top of the rinds to keep them submerged in the liquid. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least eight hours, but overnight is better. The next day, ladle the rinds and liquid into pint jars. You can store the jars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or you can use a boiling water bath to can them.

If you can your watermelon rind pickles, make sure there's 1/2 inch of liquid over the rinds and another 1/2 inch headspace between the top of the liquid and the lid. Run a table knife around the inside of the jar to release trapped air bubbles and screw on the lids with the jar bands. Process for 10 minutes and then turn the heat off and then let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.

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Pickle Your Leftover Watermelon Rind for a Delicious Condiment 

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes

cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium watermelon
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 slice ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1 allspice berry

Instructions

Cut off the green outer skin and cut the rind into 1- by 2-inch pieces.

Combine the water and kosher salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the rind pieces and boil until tender, for a total time of about five minutes.

Drain the liquid and reserve it. Put the rinds in a large metal bowl.

Pour the reserved liquid into a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let it simmer for 15 minutes, until the liquid is slightly reduced.

Pour the liquid into the bowl over the watermelon rinds. Put a plate in the bowl on the top of the rinds to keep them submerged in the liquid. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least eight hours, but overnight is better.

The next day, ladle the rinds and liquid into pint jars. Store the jars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Facts
Pickle Your Leftover Watermelon Rind for a Delicious Condiment
Amount Per Serving
Calories 601
% Daily Value*
Sodium 3834mg 160%
Potassium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 158g 53%
Sugars 158g
Calcium 0.2%
Iron 0.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.