Monday, July 13, 2009

Family Visit Part 3 - Watermelon Rind Pickles

One recipe my mom made when I was a kid was Watermelon Rind Pickles. It seems a particularly old-timey thing to make, taking the rinds that would be thrown away (or into the compost!) and making them into something edible.

I loooooved those pickles and had begged Mom to make them again for years. They are a bit of a hassle, taking some unusual ingredients and several days of draining/boiling even after the initial cleaning and chopping is done. A while ago she relented and made a batch and sure enough, they were every bit as good as I remembered: sweet, sour and cinnamon-spicy, tasting of times gone by. That batch is long gone and I had gathered the supplies to make a batch of my own. As so often happens to my grand plans, I never quite got to it, but when Mom was here she made some up!

I had a large watermelon, but the rinds have been bred thinner than when we were kids. It still made a nice sized recipe. Even after the cooking down that happens, I ended up with three pints and five half-pints, or 11 half-pints total. The smaller half-pint jars are preferable, as these are a strong, different flavor - kind of like pickles combined with red hot candies!

I was really excited to try them, only to find out that they have to pickle in the jars for two weeks as well. I'm counting the days. Want to count them with me? Better get started then!

Watermelon Rind Pickles
7 lb. watermelon rinds (dark green peels and pink flesh removed)
7 c. sugar
2 c. white vinegar
1/2 t oil of cloves
1/2 t oil of cinnamon

Day 1: Chop rinds. Soak in a strong saltwater solution overnight.
Day 2: Pour off saltwater and boil rinds in fresh water until tender but not soft. Drain. Mix sugar and vinegar. Boil rinds ten minutes in this syrup. Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature overnight.
Day 3: Drain syrup into a saucepan and bring syrup to a boil. Pour back over rinds. Let stand overnight.
Day 4: Drain syrup into a saucepan and bring syrup to a boil. Pour back over rinds. Let stand overnight.
Day 5: Drain syrup into a saucepan and bring syrup to a boil. Add rinds, oil of cloves and oil of cinnamon and boil 10 minutes. Pack in sterile jars and seal.
Allow to pickle two weeks before opening.

Read the tasting results here!


  1. Wow! That takes even more days than Linda's Springerle (anise) cookies. I need to make those cookies so I can have some a few weeks from now, but it seems like I should have a Springerle rolling pin... hum...

  2. Well none of it is too hard, but yeah, a lot of days.