Make Ahead

Spicy, Savory & Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles

April 23, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 4 quarts
Author Notes

This is a sustainable recipe that I have been making with cut-away, throw-a-way watermelon rinds. These are simple and easy to make and a beautiful addition of a condiment that will delight the eater! I give these as gifts as well. —Nancy Manlove

Test Kitchen Notes

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. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 12 cups watermelon rinds prepared as in step 1 below
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups 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
  1. Wash and cut away all green parts of the rinds, Cut away any red as well. Cut into cubes 1-inch by 1-inch pieces or with a cute flower mini cutter (that is what I use when I gift these).
  2. Place cut rind pieces in a large stock pot filled with enough water to cover rinds and cook over high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until rinds are fork tender or for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  3. While the rinds cook, in a medium large sauce pan, add in all the other ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to pickling broth to slightly cool.
  4. Place the cooked rinds in a large container that comes with tight filling lid. Pour the pickling broth over to completely cover and allow to completely cool. Place in the refrigerator and use as wanted. This will keep well for 3-4 months.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Amanda KCogswell
    Amanda KCogswell
  • Patti Frazier-Laundree
    Patti Frazier-Laundree
  • Jen Cearbaugh
    Jen Cearbaugh
  • Kiai Kim
    Kiai Kim
  • Nancy Manlove
    Nancy Manlove

17 Reviews

Amanda K. March 17, 2018
I've never had these straight pickled. Growing up Da would pickle them in vinegar/dill, then candy them in sugar and TANG. It'd be less of a condiment and more of a "snack/treat" by then. I'll send him this version to try :)
Frank C. August 25, 2015
What you do is to make these up at the end of summer, and then for each Sunday NFL game, you wrap bacon around each pickle and put them in a 350 oven for 10 minutes--never any left over!
Patti F. July 7, 2015
So how many pint/ quart jars would you say this makes??
Christine August 27, 2014
Is it correct that there is no salt in this recipe?
Jen C. August 26, 2014
I would say skip the vinegars! These will lacto-ferment beautifully. Just use extra salt and make sure the rinds stay below the brine.
Sue K. July 30, 2014
This is a terrific recipe. The pickles turned out very well. Flavor and texture are great. Thank you! (I tried to follow the recipe exactly, making sure to trim off all the pink melon, etc.)
Kiai K. July 7, 2014
Horses like watermelon rinds.
Nancy M. September 30, 2013
I have made these repeatedly, never brined them and they are boiled until tender to start with. I have a large unsealed whole pickle jar of them in my refrigerator right now, still good and they are about 6 months old. Had some over the weekend!
AntoniaJames September 29, 2013
Did anyone else find that these got very soft and slimy even, after about two weeks? I'm wondering if it's because the rind wasn't brined before cooking, which is how I've usually done it in the past (or actually, I prefer using lime, with three or four hour long soaks and rinses, which I understand is the preferred method in the South). Thank you. ;o)
Donna T. July 29, 2013
My grandma made watermelon rind pickles and I always loved them. She also believed in NOT throwing away anything you could use to make something with! Nice recipe and congrats to you Nancy!
marion July 29, 2013
i need to try this one my grandchildren will love it

Ann July 27, 2013
My favorite pickle of all time. Mom would always use black diamond watermelon because they have thick rind. Hers would be a 4 day process.
Linda July 27, 2013
Sounds like my Vermont GM's brown pickles! Yummy!
ATG117 July 25, 2013
Do you know how much rind you usually get from 1 watermelon? Also, does the rind, once pickled, have any flavor other than the pickling flavor? I guess what I'm getting at is whether the rind is just a vehicle for the pickle.
AntoniaJames April 24, 2013
Still trying to find a watermelon in recent memory that actually has enough rind to make a pickle. Love this classic. Just love it! ;o)
aargersi April 23, 2013
My mom used to make these and I LOVED them and she lost the recipe ... I am so happy to see this!!!
Daniela C. April 23, 2013
Nancy, your recipe look awesome!!