Spicy, Savory & Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles

July 24, 2013

Every Monday and Wednesday, we'll announce a new Wildcard winner: a recipe that may not have been entered in (or won) a contest, but a recipe that we've tested and loved.

Today: Who says you can only have good watermelon in the summer?

Spicy, Savory & Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles from Food52

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WHO: Nancy Manlove is a home cook, photographer, and food stylist that recently turned professional!

WHAT: The way to preserve the watermelon scraps you aren't eating anyway -- and keep them all year long.

HOW: Cut away the white, fleshy part of the watermelon, simmer the cubes in spices, and keep them in the fridge for months.

WHY WE LOVE IT: We love that Nancy takes what we would usually throw away and creates something exciting -- and something we can eat when the watermelon-sticky summer days are long over. We could see this pairing wonderfully with cheese, or as a condiment in a meaty sandwich.

Spicy, Savory & Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles by Nancy Manlove

Makes 4 quarts

12 cups watermelon rinds (as prepared in step 1 of the recipe, linked below)
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons mixed pickling spice
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
12 whole cloves
8 thin slices of fresh ginger cut into strips about 2-inches long by 1-inch wide
3 cinnamon sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons whole allspice 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photo by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Renee Knapp Matarese
    Renee Knapp Matarese
  • Elizabeth
  • Mustafa Emin Büyükco?kun
    Mustafa Emin Büyükco?kun
  • AntoniaJames
  • Lizzie 4208
    Lizzie 4208
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Renee K. March 29, 2014
I partially cook half slices of bacon, wrap them around the watermelon rind, secure with a toothpick and bake at 350 deg. for about 15 min. The reason for precooking the bacon is so that it's nice and crispy. It's been a huge hit wherever I've taken it.
Elizabeth July 27, 2013
Mustafa E. July 24, 2013
In Turkey we do a jam from this and it has an amazing texture.
AntoniaJames July 24, 2013
I've been making watermelon rind pickles since I was a kid. In fact, they are a mandatory item on my family's Thanksgiving tables. I've had such a hard time in recent years, however, finding watermelons with rinds that are thick enough to pickle. They used to be at least 1 1/2 inch thick. Now they are really thin! Do you have any tips for finding a good watermelon rind? Are there particular varieties in existence today that are not impossibly thin-skinned? ;o)
Rita July 24, 2013
Try a farmer's market or farm stand, and ask for "heirloom" varieties. The newer hybrids are engineered to have thinner rinds (for those folks who think only the red flesh is edible)!
Lizzie 4. July 24, 2013
2 Days ago friend, who is a great chef, gave me a jar of her Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles. I spent time on-line looking for a recipe for watermelon rind wrapped in bacon. I had it in the '70's outside of Philadelphia. PA people say it's from PA while many said it was a Southern hors d'oeuvre.
Anybody have an idea ??
Rita July 24, 2013
A lot of Southern roots are in eastern & central PA. Might want to try some Amish/Mennonite cookbooks.
AnnieR July 27, 2013
There's a whole page of bacon wrapped watermelon rind recipes here. http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,bacon_watermelon_rind,FF.html
Irena S. July 24, 2013
This is so creative! Definitely gonna try it x