This is the pickle that my family loves the most. Some cooks color the rind red by adding food coloring to the syrup. This is not necessary or traditional, but it is pretty, especially if cutting the rind into shapes. Back when I had time, I would color some jars red and some jars green, cutting into Christmas shapes for use as garnish at Christmas time. Cutting the rind into shapes takes a lot of time, but is a good activity to keep kids busy. My kids would cut shapes until they got tired using the small cocktail cutters. Then I would cube the rest and throw in all together with the scraps from the shapes. The kids would enjoy finding their shapes when eating the pickles up to a year later.
Rind of a large watermelon (about 4 quarts, prepared)
½ cup salt OR 2 ½ tablespoons slaked lime or pickling lime
3 quarts cold water
1 ½ quarts boiling water
3 cups vinegar
6 cups sugar
3 tablespoons whole allspice
3 tablespoons whole cloves
5 3-inch sticks cinnamon
peel of 1 lemon
hot sterilized jars and lids
- Prepare watermelon rind by removing all of the pink meat and the green skin from the rind leaving the white. Using an underripe watermelon is desireable. Cut rind in 1 inch squares and measure. You should have 4 quarts of prepared rind. ( Rind can be cut into shapes using small cutters)
- Prepare a brine of the salt and cold water. Pour over the prepared rind. Cover and let stand overnight. If a crisp pickle is desired cover with water and slaked lime instead of salt.
- Next morning, drain and rinse well with fresh water.
- Cover the rind with fresh water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender, approximately 10 minutes. (If you used lime, it will still be crisp.) Drain.
- Combine boiling water, vinegar, sugar, spices and lemon peel. Bring to a boil. Add the watermelon. Bring to a boil again and boil gently until the rind is clear and transparent, about 45 minutes.
- Pour immediately into hot sterilized jars. Seal at once. Makes 4 – 5 pints.
I prefer to use the pickling lime for a really crisp pickle. Be sure to rinse it well until all the salt or lime is washed off the surface. I have made this using oil of cinnamon and oil of cloves, but you have to be very careful, those flavors are intense. Using grated cloves
or cinnamon makes a muddy pickle.