pickled + preserved

pickled watermelon rind, say what?

I told y’all we have been a couple of picklin’ fools. Nowadays, we peruse the produce aisles saying, “we should pickle that” or “wonder how that would be like pickled.” These curious minds wanna know.

pickled-watermelon-rinds

Pickled green tomatoes were a stretch for us (we don’t even like tomatoes), but watermelon, who ever heard of such a thing? (Confession. I don’t really like watermelon… or ice cream.)

We had been talking about pickling watermelon for a few days when my sister and her husband paid us visit. Whether it is because we were talking/thinking about pickled watermelon or just that Atlanta is a foodie paradise, pickled watermelon found us! (Clearly exclamation worthy.) When we took my sister and brother-in-law to brunch at Ria’s Bluebird, one of our local favorites, pickled watermelon was part of their daily special. Mark (brother-in-law), ordered the dish and was kind enough to let everyone try a bite off his plate. The verdict- everyone loved it. Well most everyone, I like it fine, but its no dill pickle.

Can you guess what followed? We bought a watermelon with intentions of pickling the rind. A day later, our neighbor dropped by with this big guy (24 lbs) they picked up while in south west Georgia. Gotta love southern hospitality.

big-south-west-georgia-watermelon

I think the universe was speaking to us. And when it speaks you listen.

basic-pickling-watermelon-ingredients

Pickling Watermelon Rind

Here is what you need to make your own:

1 cup salt
2 quarts cold water
1 large watermelon
2 tablespoons of whole cloves
3 sticks of cinnamon
2 pieces of ginger root
1 lemon, sliced thin
4 cups of sugar (Holy moly, it’s like homemade candy.)
1 quart of white vinegar
1 quart of water

These are the easy steps to follow:

After you have removed the watermelon from the rind, enjoy the snack and grab a bowl (or Ziploc like we did) for the rind to soak in. Before soaking, peel the green skin off of the rind until it starts to get to the clearer and less green part of the rind.

peeling-watermelon-for-pickling

After combining 2 quarts of cold water and 1 cup of salt pour over the rind, and let the mix marinate for six hours.

marinating-watermelon-rind
When ready, drain the liquid, rinse well, and transfer to cooking pot. Cover the rinds with cold water and cook until they are just tender, then drain the water.

Grab the cloves, cinnamon, and ginger to tie in the cheesecloth. Go ahead and slice the lemon into thin strips.

ingredients-for-pickled-watermelon

Place the cheesecloth and lemon into a large cooking pot, followed by the remaining ingredients (sugar, vinegar, and water). Let the syrup mixture simmer for 10 minutes.

brine

Then, add the watermelon rinds and simmer until they becomes clear. (If the syrup becomes too thick during the cooking process, add boiling water to the pot.)

boiling-pickled-watermelon

Once the rinds are transparent remove the spice bag and immediately start packing the pickled rinds into sterilized jars. To can the pickled watermelon rinds, process the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Make sure that everything is sealed properly 24 hours later.

pickled-watermelon
We cracked a jar open just before heading to a movie last night (Ryan keeps somehow winning premier movie tickets…) and they turned out pretty tasty. Next time,  we are going test out cutting back on the sugar and ginger.  Over all not too shabby, something we would make again. It will be a tasty garnish to try on several dishes.

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