Watermelon Rind Pickles

Av and I got a really nice watermelon at the State Farmers’ Market in Montgomery, and I decided to make pickles with it. I’ve made these before, and they turn out really nice!

I think, but I’m not sure, that watermelon rind pickles are mostly found in here in the South (and I know, at first they don’t sound very appetizing)…but they’re so yummy that you should give them a try if you can!

3 quarts watermelon rind (3 quarts is what you’ll get from a small/medium size watermelon)
1-1/2 tbsp pickling lime
5 cups sugar
1 gallon water
2 cups white vinegar
1 stick cinnamon
2 tbsp cloves

First, I quartered my watermelon, then cut off the green skin:

I scooped out all the yummy red watermelon so that all that’s left is the rind, then I cut the rind into strips, and from there, into bite-size pieces. I put the rind into a large pot, covered with water, and added the pickling lime. This must set overnight – 8 to 12 hours. I don’t know why, but the pickling lime makes the rind sound ‘squeaky’ when it’s stirred!:

The next day, drain the watermelon, and rinse it according to the pickling lime package instructions (which mine stated to rinse three times with fresh water):

After the third rinse, put the rind in another pot and cover with cool water. Let this set for 45 minutes, then drain again.

Now it’s ready to start cooking. I put the rind in a clean pot and covered with water, then boiled it for an hour. This will make the rind start becoming transparent:

In the meantime, I started on the syrup. For that, take a pan and add the water, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves – and bring to a boil. When the rind has boiled for an hour, add it to the syrup pan, and boil for thirty minutes. The rind should have a more transparent look by this step:

In the meantime, I started sterilizing the jars. I used the exact instructions from the box the jars came in (it’s *so* important to follow those directions carefully) – here are the sterilized jars (the lids are in another hot water bath):

…then I added my hot watermelon rind mixture. I put plenty of pickles in each jar and filled each up to about 1/4″ from the top with the syrup. I put the lids on, then the bands, and placed the filled jars into a hot water bath, boiling them for 15 minutes.

(This is just one set of jars) Once fifteen minutes had passed, I took the cans out to cool – they need to cool for 12 to 24 hours. It’s really satisfying to hear the lids pop, which is the sound they make when they start to cool and seal.

Tomorrow I’ll make pretty labels for them and give them to friends and family.


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