A plate of pickled watermelon rinds and blackberries with a long fork

Pickled Watermelon Rinds

They say good things come to those who wait - and these pickled rinds are SOOO good! What a delicious way to divert the rinds from the waste stream. They’re sweet and tangy, kind of like a gherkin, making them perfect for a refreshingly different snack or garnish. Being eco-friendly never tasted better!

Serves

approximately 3 cups (586 g) pickled rinds

PREP TIME

30 minutes + 3 hours minimum or overnight soaking in brine + 2 days in flavouring solution

COOK TIME

40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small seedless watermelon or 2 lbs (908 g) watermelon rind

For the brining liquid:

  • 4½ cups (1125 ml) water, divided
  • 2 tbsp (37 g) coarse sea or kosher salt

For the pickles:

  • 10 whole cardamom pods, crushed
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 tsp (3 g) mixed peppercorns (black, white, green, pink)
  • 1½ cups (375 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) watermelon juice
  • 1 cup (217 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup (50 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 inch (25 g) fresh ginger, sliced thin
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 small bunch (3 g) fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 strips lime zest
  • ½ cup (72 g) blackberries

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Wash and dry watermelon. Slice a small portion off each end of the watermelon, creating a levelled surface for resting while peeling. With a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, pare the green part of the skin from the melon. Discard skin.

2. Slice melon in half (end to end). Cut into ½- to ¾-inch thick slices. With a paring knife, remove flesh from the rind leaving about ⅛ to ¼ inch of the pink flesh on the rind. Slice rinds between 2 to 3 inches long.

3. With a handheld blender, puree 1 cup of the watermelon until smooth. Strain the watermelon puree of any solids, using a fine mesh sieve, into a bowl. Reserve the 1 cup (250 ml) of juice.

4. In a small pot heat up ½ cup (125 ml) of water with the sea salt. Stir until salt is dissolved. Pour the salt water into a large glass bowl or container. Add the remaining 4 cups (1000 ml) of cold water, stirring to thoroughly combine. Add the watermelon rinds to the brining solution. Ensure all rinds are submerged in the brine by using a plate to weigh them down. Place container into the fridge; 3 hours or up to overnight.

To flavour the pickled rinds:

In a colander, rinse watermelon rinds well under cold water and allow to drain.

In a tea filter or a square of cheesecloth, wrap the crushed cardamom pods, whole cloves, bay leaves, and whole peppercorns together. Seal or tie off the sachet d’épices.  

In a large, non-reactive pot, combine the apple cider vinegar, reserved watermelon juice, the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, Redpath® Granulated Sugar, sliced ginger, cinnamon stick, thyme, strips of lime zest, and the sachet d’épices.

Adding brown sugar to a pot of juices and herbs

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugars. Lower heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse flavours.

Stirring fruit juice and seasonings in a pot with a wooden spoon

Carefully add the watermelon rinds to the hot liquid.

Putting watermelon rinds in a pot of seasoned fruit juices

Bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer rinds until translucent; about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Remove pot from heat. With the help of tongs or a slotted spoon, remove ginger slices, cinnamon stick, thyme, lime zest, and the sachet d’épices. Discard.

Cool watermelon rinds to at least room temperature. Add in blackberries; stir to distribute.

Transfer cooled rinds and berries to an airtight container or jars, ensuring pickles are submerged in the pickle solution. For best flavour, allow pickles to stand in the refrigerator for at least 2 days; consume within a month. The pickled rinds and berries should be kept refrigerated.

Pickled watermelon rinds and blackberries on a salad with goat cheese

CHEF'S TIP

*The leftover watermelon (flesh) can be cubed and eaten as is, added to salads, or juiced.

*Pickled watermelon rinds and the blackberries can be chopped up and added to salads, burgers, tuna or chicken salad sandwiches, added to a cheese plate or charcuterie board or used as garnishes for cocktails.