This fruity pickle is made in August, when melons are abundant. These make great gifts to share the harvest over the holidays. Watermelon rinds are easier to weight than to measure, and this recipe calculates a general ratio so you can increase or decrease the amounts based on the size of your melon. Cut the rind into one-inch strips or chunks, peel away the green, and leave a hint of the red flesh attached the rind to make a prettier pickle.
4 pounds watermelon peel from Rattlesnake or Moon and Stars watermelon (about half a full watermelon)
2 ½ pounds sugar (5 cups)
4 cups apple cider vinegar
7 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 teaspoon allspice
(you can wrap spices in cheesecloth before simmering, or plan to spoon out with a slotted spoon at the end)
7 half pint jars with lids for canning
wide mouth funnel or ladel
Cut the rind into one-inch strips or cubes, peel the green, and leave a hint of the red flesh attached the rind to make a prettier pickle. Weigh the rinds to make sure you have 4 pounds or about 16 cups of watermelon rind.
In a large stainless steel bowl, soak overnight in cold water.
In the morning, drain, and transfer to a 4 quart stockpot, and cover with water, and bring to a slow simmer over medium heat.
Cook until tender, but not soft, about 15 – 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
In the same stock pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, and spices and place the cucumber rinds back to the pot. Bring the heat back to a simmer, and cook slowly until they are transparent, about 10 minutes. Don’t overcook, because they will cook again in the hot water bath.
Meanwhile, prepare 7 pint jars by boiling in hot water or in the dish washer. When ready to fill, place a cinnamon stick in each jar. If you have one, place a wide mouth funnel over the jars.
Remove the spices from the pickle brine, or leave them in for some added visual interest. With a ladle, scoop the pickles into the jars until filled, leaving ¼” headroom at the top. Wipe the rims clean, and place the lid, screw down the top and invert upside down to seal.
To create a hot water bath, fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the jars and enough water to cover one inch over the tops of the jars. Bring back up to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes. Lift from the hot water bath using tongs or other utensils to keep your hands safe, and cool on the counter until you hear the lid pop.
Wipe the jar clean, label with name and date.
Place in a cool dry pantry for 6 months until ready to use. Watermelon pickles will last many years unopened, so you can make a large batch to last a few years.