Well, let’s try this again, huh? I’ve been out of the food blogging world for a couple of months now, but I THINK I’m back. Work was crazy beyond comprehension for months now and I just didn’t have time to blog, even have time to cook.
My good friend at work, Lana, mentioned watermelon rind pickles a few weeks back. She was fondly remembering the pickles she used to have as a little girl 29 years ago and I chimed in with me remembrances of the same pickles I used to have as a kid (more than 29 years ago). I impulsively said I would make some for her along with Mike’s world famous Fire and Ice Salsa, maybe the perfect use of watermelon. Now, what I wasn’t ready for was the breeding and genetic engineering we have done to watermelons. Because no one in their right mind uses the rind, we have bred our watermelons to have a very thin rind, about half as thick as when I was a whipper-snapper back in the last century, so the pickles are a bit thin.
- 2 quarts water
- Rind from 1 large watermelon
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons cloves
- 1 small stick cinnamon, in pieces
- 2 tablespoons whole allspice
Remove the pink pulp from the watermelon and cut the rind into manageable pieces. Cover with boiling water and boil for 5 minutes; drain and cool. Cut off the green outer skin of the watermelon rind and remove any remaining bits of pink pulp. Cut the rind into 1-inch strips or squares or any shape you prefer. You should have 8 cups of cut-up rind. Mix the salt with 1 1/2 quarts cold water and pour over the rind. Let stand at room temperature for about 6 hours. Drain, soak in several changes of fresh, cold water, and drain again. Cover with fresh, cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer just until tender when pierced with a fork; drain. Mix the vinegar, 1 cup water, and the sugar in a pot, then add the cloves, cinnamon, and allspice tied in a cheesecloth bag. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the watermelon rind and simmer until it is clear, adding more water only if necessary. Remove the spice bag. Pack in hot, sterilized jars and cover with the boiling liquid, leaving 1/4-inch headspace, and seal. If you wish, process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.
Like I said, I was dealing with new watermelons, so I’m not sure I had 8 cups of rind, but it was pretty close. I had about 1/3 cup of pickling brine left over, but I did fill two pint jars.
The pickles were just what I remembered and Lana thought she had died and gone to Heaven; she found them to just as she remembered, too. Quick and easy, they are worth a try for anyone.