My mantra has always been to use everything and waste nothing. This is especially true with food, and part of my frugal living lifestyle is to try to use kitchen scraps whenever I can. Last month, I had a 4th of July post that featured fresh watermelon and blueberries, and so I was left with about 1.5 lbs of watermelon rind. I would normally give the rind to my chickens, but I remembered hearing about a Southern recipe of pickled watermelon rind. I thought I would give it a try since I am a huge fan of pickled things, both sweet and sour, and had all of the ingredients on hand.
One of the recipes I came across was from Chef Alton Brown, and since Alton Brown grew up in Georgia, I figured he probably knows how to pickle a thing or two. I had a little less rind on hand than his recipe calls for, and made a few of my own changes, but I kept the taste similar. These are not only popular in the Southern U.S., but they have similar fare in Australia and New Zealand. They are generally served as a condiment.
It is important to point out that the overall taste of these pickled rinds is what most people describe as tasting like “Christmas”. Think of a peppery mulled-wine flavor with sweet and sour chunks. If you prefer, you can leave out some of the stronger spices, like star anise, or swap the fresh ginger for candied ginger to add more sweetness, and it would still taste like “Christmas”. If you are interested in keeping these pickles for the holidays, you can use a pressure canner or hot-water bath to preserve some for later in the year. This particular recipe only has instructions for doing it in the “quick pickle-style” that keeps for less time and is meant to be eaten quickly.
Pickled Watermelon Rind
- 1.5 lbs. peeled watermelon rind (with 1/2 in. of red left on rind)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 organic brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon thinly sliced and peeled ginger root
- 1 teaspoon mulling spices (allspice, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon)
- 5-6 peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- Cut watermelon rind into 1 inch cubes and set aside.
- Place everything except the rind, into a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- Cook contents on a full boil for a few minutes and then add watermelon rind. Continue to cook with rind for another few minutes and then turn off heat. Let rind mixture cool down in the saucepan for approximately 30 minutes.
- Scoop out rind into a 2 quart jar and using a funnel, pour pickling juice over rind pieces until they are all covered. Seal and put in refrigerator when they have cooled down completely. **These are ready to eat by the next day and can stay in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
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