Yield 2 quarts
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.
Cut ends from watermelon and remove green outer skin using a vegetable peeler or sharp chef’s knife, cutting downward.
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.
Combine water, vinegars, and sugar in a medium saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves. Add spices, cover pan, and simmer 15 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and let sit for at least 1 hour so brine can infuse. Strain brine and return to pan.
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.
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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