Watermelon Rind Pickles

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Just in time for summer, this recipe for watermelon rind pickles will be the hit of the summer. With a few simple ingredients, you can turn your watermelon rinds into a sweet and tangy snack.

watermelon rind pickles

Easy Pickled Watermelon Rind

I love old-fashioned side recipes like this one. These are the canned summer recipes that you know your ancestors enjoyed after a long day of summer. When I was little, my mom canned everything. We had shelves lined with almost every vegetable imaginable canned in jars from floor to ceiling. Summers were enjoyed spending time with the company of old friends and enjoying food from the garden. Like grilled tomatoes with zesty Italian dressing, Sauteed corn with green pepper, and this delicious summer three-bean salad.

Watermelon rind pickles, however, were not a staple in my family. I grew up in the Midwest, where I never saw this dish. Apparently, watermelon rind pickles are a Southern dish. I’m surprised that my grandma, being from Alabama, did not introduce this delicious watermelon snack to me. She ensured I grew up on the Southern tradition of salting my watermelon and sausage gravy and eating boiled okra as she did, but watermelon rind pickles were not a staple at her table.

So, when I saw a recipe for easy watermelon rind pickles in an old church cookbook of mine, I was intrigued. I knew that was something my grandma would have loved, so I had to try it. Let me tell you, this is an easy canning recipe. You can easily make this with just a few ingredients. The result is a sweet and tangy cinnamon crunchy piece of watermelon. From now on, I think this will be a regular summer recipe for my family.

What You’ll Love about this Recipe

  • You’ll love making this recipe because it is a nostalgic, old-fashioned way of eating.
  • It is the perfect side dish or tasty snack on a summer night
  • Instead of throwing away perfectly good food, you can use every inch of your watermelon
  • It’s a sweet, tangy, and spicy dish that is perfect next to any relish or enjoyed with a refreshing glass of sweet tea

Ingredients

watermelon rind pickles
  • A 7 lb. peeled watermelon rind (with most of the pink flesh cut off)
  • 7 cups of sugar
  • 1 pt. of white vinegar – this is a little less than five cups
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

How to Make Watermelon Rind Pickles

  • Cut the watermelon rinds into chunks and make sure most of the pink flesh is off of the rind. Keep some on for color
  • Fill a large pot with water
  • Add the cut-up chunks of rind
making watermelon rind pickles
  • Par-boil the rind until the outside is fork tender
  • Drain
  • Pour the rind into a large heat-proof bowl
making watermelon rind pickles
  • Using the same large pot, add sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon
  • Bring to a rolling boil
making watermelon rind pickles
  • Carefully pour the hot liquid over the watermelon rind.
  • Place the large pot you boiled the rind in over the rind to weigh it down so it stays submerged.
  • Leave it out on the counter to pickle.
making watermelon rind pickles
  • For the next two days, pour the juice back into the boiling pot, bring it to a rolling boil, and repeat the process of pouring it over the rinds and weighing them down.
  • On the fourth day, heat the juice and rind together until boiling.
  • Fill canning jars with rind
making watermelon rind pickles
  • Pour the juice over the hot rind
making watermelon rind pickles
  • The juice should cover the rinds
making watermelon rind pickles
  • Tighten the lids
  • The lids should seal within a day. Test by pushing the top down. It should remain flat and not pop up.
  • Store in a cool, dark place for one month

FAQs

What is Par-Boiling?

Par-boiling is partially boiling. Semi-boil the food until it has cooked and reached the texture required. For watermelon rinds, the rind should soften up and be fork-tender.

What is Fork-Tender?

Fork tender is cooking the food long enough to be pierced with a fork.

Can I leave the Green Rind on the Watermelon?

I tried making the rinds with the green rind on and some without. The green rind is edible, but it is definitely extremely chewy and packs a crunch. Leaving the dark green rind on will also make the pickling juice darker.

Leaving the rind on is definitely easier. Removing the rind will take a little extra time and effort.

In my opinion, the watermelon without the rind is the better option. It will still be crisp without the green rind, and it won’t be hard to chew.

making watermelon rind pickles

Expert Tips

Cutting the green watermelon rind.

Cutting the green rind is tough. I experimented with using a vegetable peeler and a strong paring knife. Both are time-consuming, but they can be done. I have read that it is easier to use a vegetable peeler when the watermelon is still in large pieces, like an entire half or whole watermelon.

making watermelon rind pickles

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Printable Recipe for Watermelon Rind Pickles

watermelon rind pickles

Watermelon Rind Pickles

MelissaMelissa
A delicious summer snack and side recipe
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
pickling 3 days
Total Time 3 days 57 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 457 kcal

Equipment

  • large cooking pot
  • large heat proof bowl

Ingredients
  

  • peeled watermelon rind roughly from a six-pound watermelon
  • water for par-boiling
  • 7 cups sugar granulated
  • 1 pt. white vinegar – this is a little less than five cups
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Cut the watermelon rinds into chunks and make sure most of the pink flesh is off of the rind. Keep some on for color
  • Fill a large pot with water
  • Add the cut up chunks of rind
  • Par-boil the rind until the outside is fork tender
  • Drain
  • Pour the rind into a large heat-proof bowl
  • Using the same large pot, add sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon
  • Bring to a rolling boil
  • Carefully, pour the hot liquid over the watermelon rind
  • Place the large pot you boiled the rind in over the rind to weigh it down so it stays submerged
  • Leave out on the counter to pickle
  • For the next two days, pour the juice back into the boiling pot, bring it to a rolling boil, and repeat the process of pouring it over the rinds and weighing them down.
  • On the fourth day, heat the juice and rind together until boiling.
  • Fill canning jars with rind
  • Pour the juice over the hot rind
  • Tighten the lids
  • The lids should seal within a day. Test by pushing the top down. It should remain flat and not pop up.
  • Store in a cool, dark place for one month

Notes

The old recipes states that it is not ready to eat until one month, but I think it’s fine to enjoy right away. The flavor will intensify as it continues to sit and pickle in its’ own juices. 
 
Nutrition facts are only an estimate 

Nutrition

Calories: 457kcalCarbohydrates: 117gProtein: 0.02gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.002gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.001gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 5mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 116gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 0.02mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword make ahead
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