Creatively Transforming Food

Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind

What is Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind, you ask? Well, it’s an amazing compliment to any special family meal. My grandmother, who was an awesome cook, served these on the table with a royal spread of food, whether it be turkey or a leg of lamb. My sister and I remember little of how they were prepared other than saving the rind from those we would devour in her kitchen on a sultry summer afternoon. According to my sis, there were cloves in the jar. I did that not knowing she did it too! How cool is that? With a few additions, I can say that this is close to what I remember savoring as a child

Recreating food memories for others to enjoy tends to be a passion I enjoy. Although, I never seem to make enough. This year all that I’ve made thus far have been hidden from sight. Otherwise, I would find empty jars sitting in the sink in the morning. True story! I was disappointed that I didn’t have them to add to my grandmother’s applesauce cake last Christmas, as she did according to her recipe,  so I’m on a mission to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

I have used 2 small seedless watermelons in the past to obtain my 12 cups of rind, but this time, I found a rather large one to use in its place. It worked perfectly! For me, It’s easier to cut the watermelon into  1-1/2″slices and cut away the pulp to store in the fridge ready to eat at a whim. Using a peeler, strip the outside peel away and compost, if you can. Cut the remaining rind into chunks about an inch in size. Notice that I leave a slight red sliver of pulp on the rind.

Dissolve 3/4 cup of salt into 3 quarts of water. Heat slightly assist in the dissolving process. Remove from the heat source at stir in the watermelon. Cover with 2 quarts of ice. Let this brine stand for 8 hours or overnight.

Drain and rinse well after the brining process. The rind will have become more pliable. Place back in the pot and cover with water and boil about 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse again.

In a cleaned pot, bring to a boil the sugar, water, vinegar, lemon and spices. After 5 minutes, add the rind. Cover and let sit for 8 hours or overnight. It can be placed in the refrigerator once cooled, if you prefer. The smell of Christmas seems to come to mind with this blend of mulling spices. With this heavenly aroma filtering throughout the house, who needs a candle?

Uncover the pot after this time period and bring back to a boil, once again. Allow it to simmer for about an hour or until rind appears more translucent. (Refer to jar pics below.)

Carefully prep jars. Using a slotted spoon, fill jars with the Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind. Ladle the remaining liquid, spices and lemon included,  into the jars within about a half inch of the rim. Secure lids onto jars, tightly screwing the rings.  Process in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Allow to cool and you should hear a little pop as vacuum occurs.


Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind

Serves: 4 pints

  • 12 cups of watermelon rind- peeled, pulp removed, cut into 1" cubes
  • ( I used 2 seedless watermelons, approximately 6 pounds total)
  • 3 quarts water
  • ¾ c. salt
  • 1 T. whole allspice
  • 1 T. whole cloves
  • 6 cinnamon sticks, broken into `1" pieces
  • 1-2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 3 c. water
  • 3 c. white vinegar
  • 9 c. granulated sugar
  1. Slice watermelon. Cut out fruit. Peel, remove pulp and cut into 1 " cubes.
  2. In a large pot, dissolve salt in 3 quarts of water.
  3. Add rind to pot and cover with 2 quarts of ice.
  4. Let it stand for 8 hours, or overnight.
  5. The next day, drain and rinse off rind.
  6. Cover rinds in large pot with water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain.
  7. To the pot, add water, vinegar, sugar, lemon and spices.
  8. Boil for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
  9. Add watermelon rind and cover.
  10. Let it stand for 8 hours; refrigerate when cooled off, if you like.
  11. Following that time period, bring it again to a boil; simmer for one hour.
  12. Prep lids and jars. Fill to ½" from the top. Wipe off rim with clean towel dipped in hot water.
  13. Place on lids and tighten band on jars.
  14. Process 10 minutes in boiling water.