How To Make Watermelon Pickles
If you thought watermelon was a treat, wait until you try watermelon pickles!
Every few years, my mom makes a batch of watermelon pickles. In recent years, I’ve started making them too.
They’re sweet, zesty, and addictive. While they go perfectly with sloppy joes and salty meats, I like eating them right out of the jar.
Another reason to consider making watermelon pickles? Reducing food waste.
Did you know that every part of the watermelon is edible? Additionally, watermelon rind is healthy, containing ample amounts of vitamins B and C, and citrulline.
Watermelon rind can be stir-fried. You can even juice it! With these ideas in your back pocket, you’ll never throw watermelon rind away again.
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What Do Watermelon Pickles Taste Like?
Watermelon pickles are sweet and tangy. Pickling spices are added to give them traditional sweet pickle flavor.
The texture of the watermelon rind is somewhere between crunchy and chewy. Once the rind is cooked in the pickling liquid, it softens it up and begins to turn translucent.
These pickles are cooked for about 30 minutes – the perfect amount of time to soften them up, but not too much!
How To Make Watermelon Rind Pickles
Scroll down for the complete watermelon pickle recipe. Here are step-by-step photos to guide you through the process.
Step 1: Cut and peel the watermelon rind. You’ll take off most of the pink flesh.
Tip: Peeling watermelon rind can be time-consuming. I find it easiest to cut the rind into long, narrow pieces (see below) and using a paring knife (not a vegetable peeler) to peel off the green rind.
Step 2: After you have peeled the watermelon rind, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
This size is preferable because they’re easy to fit into the jar, but some people cut them smaller, some cut them into long spears, etc. Any way will work.
Step 3: Soak the watermelon rinds in salt water. Make sure you use pickling salt, as it doesn’t have any additives that could make the pickles cloudy.
Step 4: Cook in a brine of vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices for 30 minutes.
Step 5: Proceed with the canning process: Boil jars and lids, pour in hot liquid and watermelon rinds, screw on lids, and put in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
How To Serve Watermelon Pickles
Eat these right out of the jar, or serve with:
- Oven-baked sloppy joes
- Black bean sloppy joes
- Grilled club sandwiches
- Ham salad (made with leftover ham)
Think of these as glorified sweet pickles.
- 8 to 9 cups of peeled and cut watermelon rind (from one small watermelon)
- 1/2 cup pickling salt
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pickling spice
- Cut watermelon rind into long, thin sections. Scrape off most of the pink flesh. Use a paring knife to peel off the outer green skin of the watermelon.
- Cut peeled watermelon into bite-sized pieces.
- Place watermelon pieces in a large bowl. Fill with enough water to cover the watermelon, and stir in pickling salt to dissolve. Soak overnight or for several hours.
- Drain and rinse well.
- Place watermelon rind, vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 30 minutes, until the watermelon rind begins to soften and some areas turn translucent.
- Although this recipe makes about 3 pints of watermelon pickles, prepare 4 pint jars and lids just in case.
- Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil with the jars and lids inside. Keep this simmering while the pickles are cooking.
- Once the pickles are done cooking and jars have been in simmering water, carefully ladle in pickles and brine into hot jars - within 1/2 inch of the top. Screw on lids. Repeat with remaining jars/pickles.
- Place lidded jars in the simmering water and boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from water and set on the counter to cool. Lids should seal (pop) as they cool down.