Don’t Let That Rind Go to Waste!
Marlenea La Shomb
Sept – Oct 2023 • Vol 4, No 6
Did you know that cucumbers are in the watermelon family? And did you know that the watermelon rind is edible?
And not only that, it’s quite tasty, too! It’s crisp and hydrating with a mild flavor. It’s similar to cucumber in texture, and there are tons of great ways to use it—like coleslaw, tzatziki, and gazpacho, for example! And don’t forget watermelon rind salad.
These watermelon rind pickles are salty, briny, sour, crunchy, and a little spicy—the perfect condiment in my eyes. They are a delicious snack. We are calling this recipe watermelon rind “pickles,” but that’s just to show what they taste like; they are fermented, not pickled. The main difference between pickling and fermenting is the presence of probiotics (“good” bacteria) with fermentation. And here’s a recipe that does NOT use either vinegar or sugar:
Wash and dry the skin of the watermelon, and cut into quarters. Scrape out the pink (and eat!) the juicy fruit and clean the pink flesh off the rind as much as possible. A spoon is a great tool to scrape with. Use a potato peeler to peel away the green, tough, outer layer of the watermelon. Once you have prepped the rind, cut it into one-inch strips and chop into a size that accommodates your jar.
Pack a clean, wide-mouth, quart or pint canning jar with the rinds and snuggly fit in the cinnamon stick. Pour the brine over the rinds, submerging them completely. Cover the jar with a cheesecloth or other breathable cloth cover to keep dust or bugs from entering the ferment. Store at room temperature, ideally between 60º and 75ºF. Keep out of direct sunlight.
This is a 3-day ferment. Check on the ferment daily to make sure the brine remains over the rind. Once the fermentation is complete, store in an airtight glass jar (with the brine) and refrigerate.
Watermelon Rind Pickles
Yield: One pint. (Double the recipe for a quart jar.)
- Watermelon rind, peeled
- One cinnamon stick. (OK to use powdered cinnamon.)
- 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan or Kosher salt.
- 1 cup purified water (Note: Nothing will ferment in chlorinated water.)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove (optional).
If you want to try the sweeter, ginger-spiced version, here are the other ingredients you can add:
- 3 1/2-inch slices fresh ginger
- 1 star anise pod
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
For more variations on this recipe, including “sweet-spiced” and “savory garlic,” visit Fannetasticfood.com/fermented-watermelon-rind-pickles. (Image courtesy of this website.)