September 8, 2010

Watermelon rind pickles

I can't take full credit for these watermelon rind pickles. My husband wanted to make them and decided that he would begin the process of doing so and I became the helper. He read recipes from both the Ball cookbook and an old Betty Crocker cookbook and he choose the Betty Crocker recipe as he thought it was closest to what his grandparents used to make (except we used white vinegar instead of cider vinegar because that's what his grandparents used). We cut the recipe from the original as well because we didn't have the quantity of watermelon. The recipe below though is the full Betty Crocker recipe (with our comments/changes in parentheses).

Watermelon rind pickles
1/4 cup pickling or non-iodized salt
8 cups cold water
4 quarts 1-inch cubed watermelon rind (with most of the pink fruit and all the green skin removed)
1 piece ginger root (we used about 4 quarter-inches slices)
3 sticks cinnamon, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons whole cloves
8 cups cider vinegar (we used white)
9 cups sugar

Dissolve salt in cold water and pour over the watermelon rind (in a very large bowl or two bowls). Add additional water, if needed, to ensure the rind is covered. Let stand in a cool place for 8 hours.

Drain rind; cover with cold water in a large stock pot and heat to boiling. Cook uncovered until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Tie spices in cheesecloth bag (we used a really large tea ball).  Add the spice bag, sugar, and vinegar to the stock pot and heat until boiling. Boil for five minutes (stir to ensure sugar dissolves). Add the rind and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. 

Prepare your canning jars and lids. Remove the spice bag and immediately pack the mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Seal and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Will make about 7 to 8 pints of pickles.

We tasted them and they were good - though my husband said he remembered them being a bit sweeter as a kid.


  1. Amy - these pickles have been a favorite of mine all my life, and were always present at the Thanksgiving and Christmas tables. I am so sad it is suddenly winter with no watermelons for me to make these, but I will definitely be making them as soon as I can this summer! ~ David

    1. That's so great to hear. I am going to have to save some rinds this coming summer to make these yummy pickles again. I grew fond of them after my husband introduced them to me.

    2. To all the comments from people lamenting the availability of rinds, I asked my produce grocer for the rinds from the pre-cut watermelon they sell in our produce department.

  2. These are my childhood summer favorite! YUMMY!!!


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