Old-Fashioned Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon Rinds
Debbi Smirnoff/E+/Getty Images
  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: 5 Half-Pints (10 servings)
Ratings (13)

If you thought the watermelon rind was just for the compost bin, think again! This old-fashioned recipe from down South takes what we usually discard when eating this summer fruit and makes it into a sweet treat. So the next time you are cubing watermelon for a salad or making it into melon balls, save the rind to make these pickles. (Just make sure you are not using leftover rind from watermelon pieces people have eaten!)

Although optional, the cherries in this recipe add a little extra color and flavor to these old-fashioned watermelon rind pickles. You do need to plan ahead with this recipe as the rinds have to soak overnight in the brine.

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds watermelon rind
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon broken up cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1/2 lemon (thinly sliced)
  • Optional: 5 maraschino cherries (halved)

How to Make It

  1. Trim the dark green and pink parts from watermelon rind. Cut rind into 1-inch cubes and measure out 7 cups.
  2. Put the watermelon rind in a large container with the pickling salt and water. Add more water to cover the rinds, if necessary. Soak overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse watermelon rind. Cover rind with cold water in a large saucepan; cook just until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a nonreactive 6- to an 8-quart kettle or Dutch oven, combine sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, whole cloves, and 1 cup water. Simmer the mixture 10 minutes.
  1. Strain, discard solids and pour the liquid back into the pan. Add drained watermelon rind, lemon slices, and maraschino cherries, if using. Simmer the mixture until watermelon rind is translucent, about 30 minutes.
  2. Fill hot half-pint jars with watermelon rind and syrup mixture, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.​

Watermelon Health Benefits

We know that watermelon is the ideal refreshment on a hot summer day, but did you know that the watermelon rind is the healthiest part of the fruit? Packed with vitamins and minerals, the rind offers lots of nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin A as well as potassium and magnesium. It is also very beneficial if you are pregnant, as its natural sugars have been shown to alleviate morning sickness and dehydration. The rind can also reduce swelling as well as heartburn, common ailments during the nine months. In addition, the amino acids in the rind help to relax the blood vessels, reducing muscle cramps which are common in the third trimester. So, if you are expecting, this recipe for old-fashioned watermelon rind pickles is ideal to have on hand to enjoy once in a while.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
194 Calories
0g Fat
49g Carbs
1g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)