My memories of the food of my childhood summers include cold poached salmon with mayonnaise and capers for the 4th of July (it's a Cape Cod thing), fresh grilled corn on the cob, and chilled, sweet watermelon. Not only was the latter tasty but it was such fun to eat. As an adult, I was introduced to pickled watermelon rinds from a jar in the pickle section of the grocery store. I loved these too - dense, chewy, and sweet, stored in a thick syrup.
Peter loves the Huffington Post and as part of it’s "Reclaim" project, HuffPost Taste is focusing on simple ways to reduce waste in our homes for the entire month of July. One suggestion is to make watermelon rind pickles with that part that we usually throw away. They pointed out ever so clearly that we are paying for watermelon by the pound so we should probably find a use for the heaviest part of this fruit. Thus, homemade watermelon rind pickles.
The biggest challenge here is peeling the green from the rind. You must apply pressure to cut into it at the same time you're taking care not to allow the peeler to slip and knick you. Practice will reveal the right technique for you. Watermelon rind pickles are a great addition to any relish tray to accompany sandwiches, hamburgers or just plain cheese but they can also be cut up into smaller pieces and added to salads.
Watermelon Rind Pickles
(3 8-ounce jars)
Rind from a 4-5 pound piece of watermelon (about ¼ of a melon)
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup of sugar
1 cup water
1½ tablespoons pickling spices
- Scoop out the flesh from the watermelon and reserve for eating.
- Peel the green skin off the watermelon with a sharp vegetable peeler and then ⅛-inch more of the lighter green "rind".
- Cut white rind into spears that are about ½-inch side and 2-inches long. (They must be able to stand in an 8-ounce "pickling" jar.)
- Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Boil the watermelon rinds for about 4 minutes, until they just begin to turn translucent and become soft when stabbed with a fork. Drain and let cool for handling.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, water, and pickling spices. Bring to a boil, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Place the cooled rinds in the pickling jars, tightly packed. Carefully pour the pickling liquid into each jar, until the liquid nearly reaches the top. Screw the top on the jars and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. The pickles can be eaten after just a few hours.