Pickled watermelon rinds in mason jar
Written by Emily Storrow | Photography by Jonathan Boncek

Not Your Grandma's Pickled Watermelon Rinds

No doubt a product of the Southern conviction that nothing should go to waste, pickled watermelon rinds are a Dixie delicacy that, for many, evoke memories of grandmothers pulling out jars of sweet pickles on sweltering summer days. Traditional pickled rind recipes call for clove, cinnamon, and heaps of sugar, which renders the rinds to a near candied state. But we’re putting a spin on the classic, brightening the brine with fresh ginger and infusing it with star anise pods, cinnamon sticks, and pink peppercorns.

The result is a tart and ever-so-sweet pickle that’s perfect for summertime snacking. Avoid the sticky countertop situation that inevitably follows a watermelon slicing session by using a concave cutting board, which will contain the juice to the center of the board. We also recommend at least partially straining the brine prior to pickling—leaving all the aromatics in can result in some seriously spiced pickles. Enjoy the rinds as a simple summer snack alongside cheese and crackers, as a burger topping, or chopped into a seasonal relish. It’s time to meet your new favorite pickle.

TLP’s Pickled Watermelon Rind Brine heading-plus-icon

  • 1 medium watermelon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • minced
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise pods
Someone cutting ends from watermelon and removing green outer skin for the pickled watermelon rinds

step 1
Peel and Prep

Cut ends from watermelon and remove green outer skin using a vegetable peeler or sharp chef’s knife, cutting downward.

Someone cutting watermelon in half lengthwise and remove red fruit.

step 2
Cutting Up

Cut watermelon in half lengthwise and remove red fruit, leaving ¼ - inch of red fruit on the rind. Cut rind into 1-inch by 3-inch spears, or smaller, if desired.

Someone combining water, vinegars, sugar, and spices in a medium saucepan.

step 3
Brine Time

Combine water, vinegars, and sugar in a medium saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves. Add spices, cover pan, and simmer 15 minutes.

Someone straining the brine.

step 4
Give it a Rest

Remove pan from heat and let sit for at least 1 hour so brine can infuse. Strain brine and return to pan.

Watermelon spears in brine on heat.

step 5
Cook, Then Cool

Place watermelon spears in brine. Return to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit at least 4 hours.

Someone placing pickled watermelon rinds in a jar.

step 6
Pack Those Pickles

Transfer pickled rinds to clean jars, and fill jars with enough brine to cover tops of pickled rinds. Keep in refrigerator up to 1 month.

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  • JIm
    September 2, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    The ginger has been left out of the ingredients list.


    1. The Local Palate Editors
      September 3, 2022 at 10:21 am

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for pointing that out. You’ll add 2 tablespoons of minced, fresh ginger with the brine ingredients in the 3rd step. Enjoy and let us know what you think!