In just a few hours, you can have chilled, tender pickles from something you otherwise would have fed to the goats or thrown out: watermelon rind. It's literally days faster than traditional recipes. Just a piece or two of this intense pickle wakes up an otherwise ho-hum meal. This is the pickle recipe for the sweet version shown on the right below.
Quick and Sweet Watermelon-Rind Pickles Recipe
Active time: 20 minutes minutes. Total time: 3 hours. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
- 4 cups peeled bite-sized pieces of watermelon rind
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- about 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 sprigs fennel leaves, about 1/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons fresh, roughly chopped ginger
- Slice watermelon into half-moons about 3/4-inches wide, leaving 1/2-inch fruit for color and texture in the pickles if desired. (Eat the rest of the fruit unadorned or use in another recipe.) Peel rind using a vegetable peeler, with a sharp knife for detail work. Cut peeled rind into 1/2-inch slices.
- Put remaining ingredients in a medium-sized pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, stir occasionally, and simmer until sugar and salt dissolves, about one minute. Add watermelon rind, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for two minutes, until rind is nearly tender. Remove the pot from the heat, stir rind and press down if needed to make sure it is all submerged, then cover so rind continues to cook as the mixture cools for an hour or two.
- Spoon the now-pickled watermelon rind into a clean jar or a glass or ceramic container, then pour in enough liquid to cover all the pickles. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours until well chilled.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature in small quantities. Pickles keep for about 10 days, but you can boil more rind in the pickling liquid.
- How to peel watermelon. Put the half-moon curve-side up on a cutting board. Use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel from the high point down each side. Use a sharp knife to trim the last bit at the bottom. I love the Kyocera ceramic paring knife and ceramic vegetable peeler I got at the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference this year.
- This recipe is based on Kitchen Riff's (John Griffin's) version of David Chang's watermelon rind pickles from Momofuku. The orignal recipes use star anise instead of fennel.