Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind is an old school recipe which hails back to the Great Depression, when nothing was wasted. Depression era cooks were creative, not because it was chic but because it was necessary. Children love the sweet, tangy taste of these pickles right from the jar. Grown-ups love them as bacon wrapped party snacks, broiled and enjoyed while hot. However you enjoy them, I can guarantee that once you’ve sampled Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind, you’ll never look at a whole watermelon quite the same way again!
Rind from one large watermelon
1/2 cup salt
6 cups cold water
4 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
Step 1) Scrape any remaining red watermelon flesh from the rind, using a spoon. Then, use a paring knife to carefully trim the green outer rind away from the white center. Be patient. The white rind is what we want – the green outer layer can be composted.
Step 2) Cut the white rind into bite size rectangles, no more than 1 inch wide by 2 inches long. This is a nice size for wrapping in bacon, if you choose to make bacon wrapped watermelon with your finished pickles!
Step 3) Place bite size pieces of white rind in a large bowl. Cover rind with 1/2 cup salt and 6 cups cold water. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl and let sit for 12 to 24 hours.
Step 4) After 12 – 24 hours have passed, drain salt water from watermelon rind. Rinse well and drain again.
Step 5) Place watermelon rind in a large pot. Add sugar, vinegar, 2 cups water, allspice, and cloves. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Rind will be slightly translucent, and the pot will be very fragrant!
Step 6) Ladle Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind into sterilized, pint size canning jars. Cover with brine from the pot, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Cover jars with lids and bands. Process in a boiling water bath according to safe canning guidelines for 10 minutes. Enjoy within one year, although I don’t think they’ll sit neglected in your pantry nearly that long!
[Alternatively, skip the canning altogether and just store your Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind in a covered container in the refrigerator. Use within two weeks.]