Pickled Watermelon


Watermelons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The best time to pick a strange watermelon is in the dark of the moon.”

“If a women steps over a watermelon vine, it will stop its growth.”

–          Southern Folklore

                Pickled watermelon is considered a southern delicacy, but in reality it is eaten in almost every part of the world.  Originally cultivated in Africa, the Citrullus lanatus, has made itself a staple it almost every culture it has come in contact with.  However, the art of preserving the watermelon rind is more regional.  Not all cultures view the rind of the melon as having any culinary value despite the high concentration of citulline, which is an amino acid, thought to relax and expand blood vessels.

In the southern United States, watermelon has often been seen as a poor people’s food, in that much like fried chicken, you can feed a large number of people for a relatively small amount of money.  Beyond the economy of the fruit it was also portrayed as a ethnic stereotype depicting it as an inferior food stuff, despite its universal appeal and value providing food security and improved nutrition to impoverished areas.  Pickling the watermelon more then likely came out of the fact that the fruit, which has such a gargantuan yield, needed to be preserved in some fashion so that it wasn’t wasted at its harvest time.

The most widely purchased verity in the United States is the seedless watermelon, a misnomer considering the fact that it does contain seeds, although they are not the fully developed and must be planted along with regular verities in order for pollination to occur.

There are many verities of watermelon ranging is colors and sweetness.  There are also two distinctively different types of watermelon pickles.  There is more common rind pickle and then there is the watermelon flesh pickle.  The second is more of a hybrid of the first and its leathery texture makes it less popular then the traditional varieties.  Other verities include:

Carolina Cross: This variety of watermelon produced the current world record watermelon weighing 262 pounds. It has green skin, red flesh and commonly produces fruit between 65 and 150 pounds. It takes about 90 days from planting to harvest.

Yellow Crimson Watermelon: variety of watermelon that has a yellow colored flesh. This particular type of watermelon has been described as “sweeter” and more “honey” flavored than the more popular red flesh watermelon.

 Orangeglo:This variety has a very sweet orange pulp, and is a large oblong fruit weighing 9–14 kg (20-30 pounds). It has a light green rind with jagged dark green stripes. It takes about 90-100 days from planting to harvest.

The Moon and Stars variety of watermelon has been around since 1926. The rind is purple/black and has many small yellow circles (stars) and one or two large yellow circles (moon). The melon weighs 9–23 kg (20-50 pounds). The flesh is pink or red and has brown seeds. The foliage is also spotted. The time from planting to harvest is about 90 days.

Cream of Saskatchewan: This variety consists of small round fruits, around 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter. It has a quite thin, light green with dark green striped rind, with sweet white flesh and black seeds. It can grow well in cool climates. It was originally brought to Saskatchewan, Canada by Russian immigrants . These melons take 80–85 days from planting to harvest.

Melitopolski:This variety has small round fruits roughly 28-30 cm (11-12 inches) in diameter. It is an early ripening variety that originated from the Volga river region of Russia, an area known for cultivation of watermelons. The Melitopolski watermelons are seen piled high by vendors in Moscow in summer. This variety takes around 95 days from planting to harvest

Densuke Watermelon:This variety has round fruit up to 25 lb (11 kg). The rind is black with no stripes or spots. It is only grown on the island of Hokkaido, Japan; where up to 10 000 watermelons are produced every year. In June 2008, one of the first harvested watermelons was sold at an auction for 650 000 yen (6300 USD), making the most expensive watermelon ever sold. The average selling price is generally around 25 000 yen (250 USD)


Sweet Watermelon Pickle[1]



                Trim the rinds nicely, being careful to cut off the hard coating with the outer green.  Weigh ten pounds of rind and throw in a kettle and cover with foft water.  Let this boil gently for half an hour, take it off and lay it on dishes to drain.  Next morning put one quart of vinegar, three pounds of brown sugar, one ounce cinnamon, one ounce mace, the white of one egg well beaten, and put on top of liquid (to clear it as you would jelly), three teaspoonfuls turmeric, all together and boil for a few minutes.  Skim off what rifes as scum with the egg.  Throw in the rind and boil for twenty minutes.  The peel of two frefh lemons will give a nice flavor, through not at all neceffary.                                                                                                                            

(Old recipe, Toano, Virginia.)

                The pickled watermelon is always considered more of a sweet pickle as opposed to the sour pickles made from cucumbers and chilies.  In the above recipe egg whites are added as a raft to clarify the brine as you would in a consommé.  This would remove the sulfurous compounds found in the brown sugar which was more commonly used during this time period.  These compounds would eventually sour the pickles and make them inedible and unfit for preservation. 


Watermelon Rind Pickle[2]



Pare the rind of a melon, cutting away all pink meat infide.  Then place it in an earthen crock of foft water, falt enough to float an egg.  Let the rind remain a week in this, or longer if you wifh.  Make a brine by filling the crock with water and placing a lump of alum or two teafpoons of powdered alum.  Let the rind remain in this two days, the foak the rind in cold water until clear, fqueeze the water out an let it stand for a night, then make a syrup of vinegar and sugar and mixed spices, cooking the rind awhile in it.

                                                                     (Old recipe, Norfolk, Virginia)

                The Mid – Atlantic region was once the home of most of the canning houses in the United States.  By the start of world war one there were over 406 canneries on the Eastern Shore alone.  Today with the advent of global food ways and the rise of California as the produce capital of the world, all of Maryland now contains 15 canneries.

                Admiral Byrd took a good supply of Valliant’s canned spinach with him on his expedition to the Arctic and some of it is still there to this day, although questions remain as to whether or not they are still any good.  

Watermelon Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopside

Order: Cucurbitales

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Genus: Citrullus

Species: C. Lanatus

Williamsburg Watermelon Pickle[3]



                Pare the rind of the watermelon, cutting away the pink part.  Cut them in fmall pieces with a fluted cutter and let stand overnight in equal parts vinegar and water to cover.  Put it on to boil in this vinegar, cook until tender and drain well.  Make a syrup of five pounds sugar, one quart of vinegar and put in a spice bag containing feveral blades of mace, two ounces of cloves, and one ounce of cinnamon.  Boil for ten minutes.  Put rind in and cook a few minutes, then remove it to hot jars.  Boil the syrup down until it is thick and pour it over the rind and feal hot.

                                                                                                                                (Traditional Virginia recipe, adopted

                                                                                                                                Market Square Tavern Kitchen, 1937)

Most of the recipes contain most of the same ingredients at this point in history.  It is really the process involved that changes from recipe to recipe.  In some cases the watermelon were salted or “bleed” before the process began, and in others they were cooked for long periods of time. 

Sweet Watermelon Pickle[4]



                Trim the rind nicely, being careful to cut off the hard coating of outer green.  Weigh ten pounds rind and throw in a kettle, and cover with salted water; let this boil gently for half an hour, take it off and lay it on dishes to drain.  Next morning put one quart vinegar, three pounds brown sugar, one ounce cinnamon, one ounce mace, the white of one egg well beaten and thrown on top of the liquid (to clear it as you would jelly), three teaspoonfuls turmeric, all together in a kettle, and boil for a few minutes; skim off what rises as skum with the egg.  Throw in the rind, and boil for twenty minutes.  The peel of two fresh lemons will give a nice flavor, though not at all necessary.

 – Mrs. L. W. C.


                This technique calls for the use of an egg white to clarify the pickle.  This is a technique also used in the making of consommé and it is made necessary here by the addition of brown sugar instead of white refined sugar.  You can eliminate this step by using white sugar instead of brown. 


Watermelon Pickle[5]



4 Pounds Watermelon Rind

2 Pounds Sugar

1 Pint Vinegar

Mace, Cloves, Cinnamon, And Ginger to the taste.


                Peel the rind and cut in pieces; boil in ginger tea till clear, then throw in cold water overnight.  Next morning make a syrup and preserve the rind; just before taking off the fire, pour in the vinegar.

–          Mrs. A. T.

                In this version the watermelon rind is actually cooked in a ginger “tea”.  In fact, this “tea” is what is known as a tisane, or more commonly referred to as herbal tea.  It is not actually a tea since it contains no tea leaves and in fact just a liquid comprised of an herbal combination.  This recipe does not specify a recipe for the ginger “tea” and I would suggest playing around with the addition of several aromatic spices such as star anise and allspice to give this pickle a more Asian feel.

Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickle[6]



Take a melon rind and scrape all the meat from the inside, and then carefully slice all the outside of rind from the white part of the rind, then lay or cover the white part over with salt.  It will have to remain under salt one week before pickling; the rind will keep in salt from year to year.  When you want to pickle it, take it from the salt and put it into clear water, change the water three times a day – must be changed every four hours – then take the water and dry it with a clean cloth.  Have your vinegar boiling, and put the rind into it and let it scald for four minutes, then take it from the vinegar and let it lay in vinegar for four days; then take it from the vinegar, drain, and sprinkle sugar thickly over it and let it remain so one day.  To make syrup, take the syrup from the rind and add eight more pounds more sugar to it, and put to boil; boil until thick and clear syrup.  Weigh ten pounds of rind to twelve pounds of sugar, cover the rind with four pounds sugar and make syrup with the remaining eight pounds.  While the syrup is cooking add one teacupful of white ginger and the rind of three lemons.  When the syrup is cooked, then put the rind into the boiling syrup, and let it cook until you can pas a fork through it with ease, then it is done.  When cooled put in jar or bottles with one pint vinegar to one quart of syrup, thus the pickle is made.  See that they will be well covered with vinegar and syrup as directed. 


Watermelons are thought to be originally from the Kalahari Desert in Africa, as they were noted there by David Livingstone.  The region still contains what is believed to be the ancestor of the watermelon a melon called Tsamma Melon.  There they are often used to make jellies and jams due to the high concentration of pectin contained by them. 

Watermelon Rind Preserves[7]

Blue Book of Preserving

Ball and Ball Blue Book – Jarden Corporation



1 ½ Quarts Prepared Watermelon Rind                                

4 Cups Sugar

4 Tablespoons Salt                                                                         

¼ Cup Lemon Juice

3 ½ Quarts Water, Divided                                                         

½ Cup Thinly Sliced and Seeded Lemon

1 Tablespoon Ginger


                To prepare rind:  Trim green peel and pink flesh from thick watermelon rind.  Cut rind into 1 inch pieces.  Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water.  Pour salted water over rind.   Let stand 5 to 6 hours.  Drain; rinse; drain again.  Cover rind in cold water and let stand  30 minutes.  Drain.  Sprinkle ginger over rind.  Cover with water.  Cook until tender.  Drain.

                To make preserves:  Combine sugar, lemon juice and 1 ½ 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 necessary.  Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space.  Adjust two piece caps.  Process 20 minutes in a boiling water canner. 

Mace, ginger, cinnamon and clove are the primary spices used in this recipe.  All of these contain powerful flavornoids which are aromatic particles which stimulate the sinuses as well as the taste buds.  The agitation allows the perception of flavor to be much stronger then it would otherwise be on its own.  Peppers and chilies also contain these properties.  

Watermelon Rind Pickles



4 Quarts 1 – inch Cubed Watermelon Rind                         

1 Tablespoon Whole Allspice

(White Portion Only)                                                                    

¼ Teaspoon Mustard Seed

1 Cup Canning Salt                                                                         

7 Cups Sugar

2 Gallons Water, Divided                                                            

½ Cup Thinly Sliced Lemon (About 1 Medium)

3 Sticks Cinnamon                                                                          

2 Cups Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Whole Cloves


                Cover watermelon rind with salt and 1 gallon water, stirring to dissolve salt.  Let stand 12 hours or overnight.  Drain; rinse.  Cover rind with one gallon water in a large saucepot.  Cook until tender.  Drain; 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 10 minutes.  Add rind, simmer until rind is transparent.  Remove spice bag.  Pack hot rind and liquid into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust two piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. 

                This version calls for the addition of allspice as well as mustard seed.  In this recipe you could also add a spice element such as crushed red pepper flakes or a dried chili. 

Watermelon Rind Pickle[8]



                Use one large watermelon.  Cut off green rind and pink part.  Cut other part of rind in cubes.  Cover with water and par boil until tender.  Drain off water. 


7 Cups Water                                                                                    

¼ Tsp. Oil Cloves

2 C. Vinegar                                                                                       

¼ Tsp. Oil Cinnamon


                Make a syrup of the above and pour over tender rind.  Let it stand overnight.  

                Drain off liquid, bring to a boil and pour over rind.  Do this for three mornings and on the third, heat the pickle with the syrup.  Pour into jars and seal.

                                                                                     –              Jessie Taylor



Lancaster County Watermelon Pickle[9]



Watermelon Rind, Diced                                                            

1 Cup Sugar

Salted Water                                                                                    

3 Drops Oil of Cloves

1 Cup Vinegar                                                                                   

3 Drops Oil of Cinnamon

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice


                Peel the green from watermelon rind, leaving a little of the pink on the inside.  Dice into 1 ½ inch cubes. Boil in salted water until tender.  Drain.  Mix the vinegar, sugar, oil of cloves, oil of cinnamon, and the lemon juice in a saucepan.  Let this come to a good boil, add a melon rind, and cook together for about three quarters of an hour, when syrup should be thickened and rind transparent.  Fill sterilized jars and seal.

–          Mrs. Amos Shaub

This is an example of the use of science in the processing of the pickles.  Oil of spices, or essential oils held many uses in old kitchens.  They were used as ways of preserving expensive spices as well as preserving the potency of the spices flavor, but they were also used beyond the kitchen in physiks or medicines for all types of ailments.  Modern science has justified many of these old remedies, but have extracted the essential parts of them and made them more efficient and reliable, but food was often seen as having medicinal value beyond just sustenance.  Pickle juice or brine was often drunk and believed to cleanse the digestive system, much like vinegar. 


Watermelon Pickle 3[10]



4 Pounds Watermelon Rind                                                       

4 Cups White Vinegar

Lime Water                                                                                       

2 Tablespoons Whole Allspice

4 Pounds Granulated Sugar                                                        

2 Tablespoons Whole Cloves

10 Small Pieces sick cinnamon


                Buy the lime water at the drugstore.  Cooked the diced, trimmed watermelon rind in this for 2 ½ hours.  Drain.  Cover with fresh water, cook for 1 ½ hours, or until fairly tender.  Let stand overnight in same water, then drain.  Make a syrup of the vinegar and sugar with about 1 cup of water, bring to a boil with the spices in a bag, add the watermelon, and cook slowly for 2 hours.  Remove the spice bag and pour in hot sterilized jars.  Seal.  Store in a cool place. 

                The year 1948 brought about a great change in the watermelon.  This was the invention of the process of crossing a female tetraploid plant with diploid pollen creating a sterile tripoid plant known commercially as a “seedless” watermelon.  Further developed in the 1950’s with genetic modification developed a tetraploid hybrid that became the gold standard for all commercial seedless watermelons thereafter. 

Spiced Watermelon Rind[11]



Cut away the green and red from the rind of a watermelon, and the white into 1 inch squares, and measure.


In a 2 gallon pot:

Place                     7 lbs.                     White rind

Add water to cover with

                                ½ Tsp.                   alum (Purchase in drugstore) and

                                1 Tsp.                    Salt

Allow to stand overnight.

On following day, drain and cover with fresh water.

Add                        1 tsp.                     powdered ginger and boil until rind is tender.

Drain and chill in ice water.


In a 3 qt. saucepan:

Simmer                                2 ½ Lbs.                White Sugar

                                2 ½ Lbs.                Brown Sugar

                                3 Cups                   White Vinegar

                                3 Cups                   Water

                                3                              Lemons, (squeeze juice in and cut rinds in thin slivers)

                                                                And in a tiny bag.

                                6                              Cinnamon Sticks

                                1 Tbsp.                  Whole Cloves

Boil until mixture is clear and thickens slightly.

Add syrup to rind and cook 15 minutes longer.

Remove spices, pack rind in jars, fill with syrup to overflowing and seal.

                Alum is an old fashioned term for Potassium Aluminum Sulfate which was used as a way of crisping up the rind and allowing it to retain a fresh texture when finished.  Pickles are often marketed as crisp or crunchy and it is a result of the desire to retain the original texture of the rind.  Modern pickling processes have made the use of Alum obsolete; it was also known to cause digestive problems due to its highly astringent nature.  In later processing it was replaced by cold processing which allowed the pickle to retain the natural texture since it was not cooked through heat, but rather through the use of acid which breaks down the connective tissues and cell walls.


Pickled Watermelon Rind[12]



2 Pounds Watermelon Rind                                                       

1 Tablespoon Whole Allspice

Limewater *                                                                                     

6, 2 Inch Pieces Cinnamon

4 Cups Sugar                                                                                     

1 Tablespoon Whole Cloves

2 Cups Water                                                                                    

2 Cups Vinegar


                Remove green peel and pink meat from watermelon rind.  Cut remaining white part into 1 – inch pieces.  Soak for 1 hour in lime water.  Drain, cover with fresh water and cook until tender, about 1 ½ hours.  Drain.  Make a syrup out of sugar, water, vinegar and spices (tied in a bag) by boiling 5 minutes.  Add rind to hot syrup and boil gently until rind is clear and syrup is thick, about two hours.  Pack rind in hot, sterilized jars and fill to tops with hot syrup.  Seal tightly.


*1 Tablespoon lime (calcium oxide, purchased from drug store) dissolved in 2 quarts water

                Calcium Oxide is a mineral salt obtained from Calcareous rocks.  It is separated and heated in special ovens since the melting point is in excess of 2000 degrees.  It is then transformed into a strong alkali calcium hydroxide.  It is commonly used to neutralize acidic soils and is a common ingredient in children’s medicine dealing with diarrhea and to combat lactose intolerance.

Watermelon – Rind Pickles[13]



                                                              Makes Approximately 3 ½ Quarts


1 Large Watermelon


Salt and Alum Solution:

1 Tablespoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Alum

1 Gallon Cold Water



½ Ounce Ceylon Stick Cinnamon

Pieces Dried Ginger Root

1 Piece Fresh Ginger Root, If Available

2 Blades Mace

3 Pounds Sugar

2 Pints Cider Vinegar

3 Slices Lemon with the Seeds Removed


1 5 Qt. Non – Aluminum Cooking Pot

3 1 Qt. Plus 1 1 – Pint Mason Jars, or a Similar Combination


                Cut off the green outer skin and discard any pink flesh left inside, because that becomes very tough when pickled.  Cut the trimmed pieces of rind into 2 inch strips or 1 ½ inch squares, and rinse well.  Mix the salt and alum together with the gallon of water, stirring until both are dissolved (the alum is what firms the rind).  Then put the rind to soak overnight in this solution.  In the morning remove the rind from the solution and wash in cold water 2 – 3 times.  Drain well. 

                Meanwhile prepare the syrup by tying the spices in a piece of cheesecloth.  Dissolve sugar in the vinegar.  Add the spices and lemon and set over medium burner.  Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 10 minutes.

                Now put the rind pieces in the prepared vinegar and syrup solution.  Place over medium high burner and cook at a good simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from the burner and set overnight.  Remove the spices.  Heat up again the next morning to a gentle boil.  When heated thoroughly ( 15 minutes) have ready sterilized mason jars in a pan of simmering water.  Fill the jars with the pieces of rind.  Boil up the syrup, and then pour it over the pickles, covering them with the syrup.  Insert a dinner knife into each jar, pressing it against the pickles to release any air bubbles.  Gently press the pickles under the shoulder of each jar.  This will keep the pickles from floating to the top of the jar.  See that the syrup is covering the pickles.  Wipe the rim of the jar and seal.  Remove from the stove and set the jars in a draft free place until cold.  Store in a dry, cool closet.

                During the melon season we enjoyed many afternoons tasting the different kinds of watermelons.  Afterward we would carefully select the thickest rinds and prepare them for pickling.  We also saved the seeds from the sweetest melons and put them out to dry as our seed for the next season’s planting.  The verities we always planted were Jackson, Congo, and Tom Watson.  They were very large melons and also very sweet. 

Watermelon,   raw (edible parts)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy   30 kcal   130 kJ
7.55 g

– Sugars  6.2 g Dietary     fiber  0.4 g   Fat0.15 gProtein0.61 gWater91.45 gThiamin (Vit. B1)  0.033     mg  3%Riboflavin     (Vit. B2)  0.021 mg  1%Niacin (Vit.     B3)  0.178 mg  1%Pantothenic     acid (B5)  0.221 mg 4%Vitamin B6  0.045     mg3%Folate (Vit. B9)      3 μg 1%Vitamin C  8.1 mg14%Calcium  7 mg1%Iron  0.24     mg2%Magnesium  10 mg3% Phosphorus  11 mg2%Potassium  112     mg  2%Zinc  0.10     mg1%Percentages   are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
USDA Nutrient database

                Watermelons are believed to have been cultivated in Africa as early as 2000 B.C.E.  There is evidence of watermelon seeds in the Nile valley dating back to the Twelfth Dynasty in Egypt and remains of watermelons were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter.  They have been found to have been cultivated in Asia by the 9th Century and were introduced to Europe by the Moors invasion in the 13th century.  The first record of the word watermelon in the English language is in the Dictionary of American Food and Drink by J. Mariani in 1615.  In the 1940’s a man named Charles Fredric Andrus, working for the USDA, developed a variety of watermelon that was disease and wilt resistant.  This allowed for the commercial cultivation of the watermelon as well as seedless varieties to be developed and sold in commercial marketplaces. 

                The pungy is a boat used along the Chesapeake Bay that was painted a bright green on the outside and pink inside.  This is believed to have been done to advertise the sale of watermelons which were brought up the bay on these boats.  Only one replica of this style of boat survives at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. 

Watermelon Rind Pickle[14]



5 ½ Pounds or 4 Qts. Watermelon                                           

5 ½ Pounds Sugar

4 Tbsp. Salt                                                                                        

2 Cups White Vinegar

3 Tbsp. Alum                                                                                     

1 ½ Tbsp. Whole Cloves

3 Sticks Cinnamon


                Trim green skin and red flesh from thick watermelon rind.  Cut into 1-inch blacks.  Soak rind overnight in 4 quarts cold water with salt.  Drain and rinse well.  Dissolve alum in 4 quarts water.  Add rind, cook to boiling, and then simmer for 30 minutes.  Drain and rinse.  Simmer in 4 quarts water about 45 minutes, until tender.  Add sugar and cook briskly until rind looks transparent.  Add vinegar and cooks 25 minutes more.  Add spices in cotton bag and cook 10 minutes more.  Pack in hot pint jars and seal with hot two piece lids.  Yields 6 pints.


Pickled Watermelon Rind[15]



Cut watermelon rind into thin strips,

Removing the green outer skin.

This hard, mostly white mass disguises the

Soft, syrupy condiment that is to come.

Work done well now will later cause the

Salivary glands to relish, succor

The melon’s skin from the field’s dark earth.

Soak in lime water – from a pharmacy –

Overnight, then wash the rind four times,

Followed by soaking in brine

And boiling till the water rolls in lines.

Add cinnamon sticks in cider vinegar,

Three pounds of sugar, pickling spice.

Pour rind and syrup in sterile jars.

Screw the lids on right.

When turkey is passed on Thanksgiving Day

And the pickles follow not far behind,

All of the guests will look around and say,

“where’s the pickled watermelon rind?”

It will pucker their lips

But only the cook will remember the

Sweet sour smell of cider vinegar

Saturating the house this July day.

–          Martha Steger

                This is a clever rhyme devised to make recipes easy to remember and then passed down from one generation to the next by word of mouth as opposed to writing things down.  This also helped in the past when learning how to read and write were not as common as they are today. 

Sous Vide or Compressed Watermelon Rind Pickle

Christopher Gobbett


Watermelon Rind, Cleaned and Cut into ½ Inch Cubes                  Cinnamon Extract

Vanilla Corn Syrup                                                                                         

Sweet Potato Vinegar

Oil of clove                                                                                                         Powdered Mace

Lime Zest                                                                                                           


Crushed Red Pepper Flakes                                                                       


Combine the salt and seasonings in water to cover the watermelon rind and bring to a boil.  Cool and allow marinating for 2 days in the refrigerator.  Drain rind and place bag in simmering water and cook until tender.  Remove and refrigerate and allow to set for 2 weeks.  Enjoy. 

My method of pickling is to use a lower heat in the sous vide method thus allowing me to retain the crispness of the original rind while infusing the flavors of the pickling brine in a much more efficient way.  I think in the future we will see more use of the sous vide technology applied to the pickling process as it is more economical than the traditional glass bottles and takes less time.  It also allows a more intense flavor to be extracted since the water dose not interact with the rind directly.

                It would also be interesting to explore what other volatile aromatics could be used in this recipe.  Rose water or any floral oil such as lavender, violet or chamomile could add an interesting note to this process.  They would be lost in the traditional canning process, but due to the anaerobic environment of sous vide, the aromatic compounds could not escape and would become infused in the rind.

                    This is a pickle and does allow a great deal of evolution in the seasonings and cooking styles to take place.  Salt and vinegar are the only seasonings that are really required when pickling, everything else is left to the imagination and taste of the chef. 

[1] The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplished Gentlewomen’s Companion by Ms. Helen Bullock: Colonial Williamsburg Inc. 1938

[2] The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplished Gentlewomen’s Companion by Ms. Helen Bullock: Colonial Williamsburg Inc. 1938

[3] The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplished Gentlewomen’s Companion by Ms. Helen Bullock: Colonial Williamsburg Inc. 1938

[4] Housekeeping in Old Virginia: Marion Cabell Tyree, John P. Morton and Company Louisville, KY. 1879

[5] Housekeeping in Old Virginia: Marion Cabell Tyree, John P. Morton and Company Louisville, KY. 1879

[6] What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking by Abby Fisher: Women’s Co-operative Printing Office 1891

[7] Ball Blue Book of Preserving: Hearthmark LLC a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation 1909

[8] Maryland Cooking Compiled by the Maryland Home Economics Association 1948

[9] The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook by Ruth Hutchison: Harper & Brothers Publishers 1948

[10] The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook by Ruth Hutchison: Harper & Brothers Publishers 1948

[11] Olney Inn Cookbook by Bea Sandler: 1972

[12] Chesapeake Bay Cooking by Home Economics Baltimore Gas & Electric 1973

[13] The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis: Alfred A. Knopf 1976

[14] Cooking with Class: A Cornucopia of Recipes from Historic Frederick County Maryland by the Frederick Community college Fund, Inc.: Wimmer Brother Books 1985

[15]The Best of Virginia Farms Cookbook & Tour Book Recipes, People, Places by Cici Williams: Menasha Ridge Press 2008


About midatlanticcooking

Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region for over 20 years. Painter, writer and traveler.
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5 Responses to Pickled Watermelon

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