How to Prepare Watermelon Rind
In my last post, I mentioned that watermelon rind contains healthful compounds and can be consumed as a steamed or pick led vegetable. But for many Americans, watermelon rind is usually tossed aside. The texture can seem a bit tough and fibrous. Most of us don’t know what to do with the little loves! So, in today’s post, I will share with you a few recipes for canning them into either pickles or preserves.
Although these recipes are relatively easy to prepare, if you aren’t equipped to can, or if the thought of this American past-time is just too overwhelming, then you can purchase canned watermelon rind to test it for yourself. Try the pickled watermelon with sandwiches, salads, and cheese & crackers. Try the watermelon preserves any way that you would ordinarily use jam. When you do this, let me know how it turns out!
To make the watermelon rind pickles or the preserves, it will require traditional home canning equipment and careful attention to food safety practices. The most important tip is to follow this recipe exactly as indicated. Do not substitute ingredients. This is because the pH of the recipes below is precise, and changing ingredients could mean changing pH. Here is the USDA’s complete home guide, which is a great guide for how to get started. If you have any canning tips to the fellow readers here, please share them in the comments section below.
Watermelon Rind Pickles: (adapted from “Ball’s Guide to Preserving”)
4 quarts 1-inch cubed watermelon rind (white portion only)
1 cup canning salt
2 gallons water, divided
3 sticks cinnamon
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp whole allspice
1/4 tsp mustard seed
7 cups sugar
1/2 cup thinly sliced lemon (about 1 medium)
2 cups vinegar
Cover watermelon rind with salt and 1 gallon water, stirring to dissolve salt. Allow to stand 12 hours. Drain and rinse. Cover rind with 1 gallon water in a large saucepot. Cook until tender. Drain and set aside. Tie spices in a spice bag. Combine spice bag, sugar, lemon slices, and vinegar in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add rind, simmer until it is transparent. Remove spice bag. Pack hot rind and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.
Watermelon Rind Preserves: (adapted from “Ball’s Guide to Preserving”)
1-1/2 quarts watermelon rind, prepared by trimming green peel and pink flesh from thick watermelon rind. Cut rind into 1-inch pieces.
4 Tbsp salt
3-1/2 quarts water, divided
1 Tbsp ginger
4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup thinly sliced and seeded lemon (about 1 medium)
Instructions: Dissolve salt into 2 quarts water, then pour water over rind. Allow to soak for 5-6 hours. Drain, rinse, then drain again. Cover rind with cold water and let rest for 30 minutes. Drain. Sprinkle ginger over rind. Cover with water. Cook until tender. Drain.
To Make Preserves: Combine sugar, lemon juice and 1-1/2 quarts water in a large saucepot. Boil 5 minutes. Add rind. Boil gently until rind is transparent and syrup thickens. Add sliced lemon, cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim foam if needed. Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two piece caps. Process 20 minutes in a boiling water canner.
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