back to the rind

A nice ripe watermelon is right up there with tomatoes fresh off the vine as defining moments that it’s truly summer. I cut up the melon and keep it in the fridge – perfect cold snacking food when the temperature climbs. But for all the watermelon I’ve eaten, I’ve never given a second thought to the rind beyond putting it in the compost bin. I have some very talented friends that have been pickling all kinds of things lately that inspired me to look at that rind a little differently even though I’m fairly certain I’ve never even had pickled watermelon rind. I’m thinking it’s about time.

I did a Google search for recipes and found all kinds – some very time consuming and complicated and some relatively easy. Why did I pick the one I did for this first go around? Basically because it was the one that I had most everything on hand to make.  Their recipe said to cut away all signs of the pink flesh, but another recipe I read left some on and since I thought it might be prettier that way, that’s the route I went.

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Adapted from Whole Food’s recipe

2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar or honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp whole cloves
4 small, dried chiles
4 wide strips lime peel
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds peeled watermelon rind, cut into (1/3-inch) chunks (about 5 cups)

Put vinegar, water, sugar or honey, salt, cloves, chiles, lime peel and ginger into a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add rind, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until rind is tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

Spoon contents of pot (with pickling liquid) into glass jars, seal tightly and chill overnight. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I couldn’t wait to pop the lid on my first attempt at watermelon rind pickles and I found them both tangy and sweet (think bread and butter pickles) and the flavor of the cloves definitely comes through. I would use more dried chiles next time for a little extra kick. I wouldn’t say there’s a lot (any?) watermelon flavor that comes through but they are crispy, crunchy and the acidy would make them a great garnish to sandwiches or used in a chutney. I definitely see more pickling in my future. Stay tuned!


About bistroonesix

I have an interest in all things food and am lucky enough to be surrounded by people that share this same passion. There’s never a shortage of inspiration or partners in collaboration. Some of my happiest memories involve big tables covered with food, plenty of wine, and extra chairs pulled up to accommodate all the friends and family. If I can help facilitate these kinds of evenings, well then I’d say this is a great hobby to have. I live in Boise, Idaho with my husband and 2 adorable cats.


  1. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I’ve been staring at that watermelon, knowing I should cut it open, and knowing I couldn’t bear to waste the rind one more stinking time. “Gotta look that up,” just became “I saw that post last night.” Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to make good use of those rinds!

  2. Pingback: nectarine basil mojito | bistro one six

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