Preserving Watermelon Pickles

I made a batch of watermelon pickles using John Besh's recipe, available on line. It turned out OK, but not like my mom's, which is where my taste memory is set. I used rice wine vinegar. Since I wasn't going to eat them all right away, I canned them. Do they have enough vinegar or should I also hot water bath them? The recipe is one cup sugar, one cup vinegar.

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Nili
Nili October 10, 2012

The short answer is yes.

The USDA has a great resource for canning and the link below is to the chapter specifically on canning pickled foods. Although they don't seem to have a watermelon rind recipe, they have detailed directions on preserving pickled fruits and vegetables which should cover your needs. Some people choose not to follow these guidelines and may be lucky enough to never have a problem but this is the safe way to do it.

http://www.foodsaving.com/G6Preparing-CanningFermentedFoods-PickledVegetables.pdf

The USDA's information comes from the National Center for Home Food Preservation out of UGA. They have a specific recipe for watermelon rind pickle including water bath canning instructions.

http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/watermelon_rind.html

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SeaJambon
SeaJambon October 10, 2012

Also, rice vinegar may not have the acidity level you need. You want at least a 5% acidity because it has to compensate for the low acid watermelon rind. Use a tested recipe (nchfp is perfect; also try the Ball canning book) and follow it to the letter. If you haven't kept the pickles you made in the fridge but on a shelf, throw them out and start over. It may seem like a waste but two thoughts: they weren't what you wanted in the first place (taste wrong) AND they weren't properly processed, so the possibility of botulism or other food borne pathogens has not been removed. Doesn't taste good and may not be safe to eat -- definitely not worth keeping around. Sorry. Oh, and with regard to the water bath -- that needs to happen during the whole processing phase -- it isn't something you can do later.

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks October 11, 2012

Thanks, refrigerated pickles but deathly afraid of botulism, will throw pickles out and start over. Have a watermelon shell and two more watermelons in the frig. Hope to post a recipe and picture soon. Thanks a million, both of you!

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks October 18, 2012

Hi, the second batch of pickles turned out great. I made them using The Essential NYT Cookbook recipe and canned with a hot water bath. They were JUST like my mom's, I think. :)

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SeaJambon
SeaJambon October 18, 2012

Yay!! I'm very happy for you. :)

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