The rind of a watermelon might not be as sweet as the flesh, but it’s reminiscent of a melon crossed with cucumber: fresh, crisp, and mild. In fact, you can pickle it much like you’d pickle a cucumber and eat it the same way. These pickles piled high on a delicious taco are where the sweet, sour, and spicy notes do a dance party on the tongue.
Watermelon Rind and Jalapeño Pickles [Vegan]
- 1 cup (235 ml) cider vinegar
- 1 cup (235 ml) water
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) kosher salt
- 3 1/2 cups (525 g) sliced watermelon rind (see Preparation Tip, page 161)
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (remove ribs and seeds for less heat)
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, toss the watermelon rind with the lime zest. Layer the watermelon rind and jalapeño in two pint (473 ml) jars (or one quart jar [946 ml]) and then pour the brine over them. Let stand at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for at least 4 hours before serving. For best flavor, refrigerate the pickles overnight to let the flavors develop more deeply.
A baby watermelon weighing around 4 1/2 pounds (2 kg) should yield approximately 3 cups (450 g) of watermelon rind. While you can slice the watermelon rind however you’d like, I prefer to peel paper-thin wide “ribbons” of rind about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long for these pickles. Preparation Tip: The easiest kind of watermelon rind to prepare (and the best kind to eat) is about 3/4 to 1 inch (2 to 2.5 cm) thick. How can you tell whether a watermelon has a thick rind? Just ask the farmer or vendor or cut one open and make note of that particular variety’s characteristics. To start, slice the watermelon in half and place the cut side down. Peel the green skin (a Y shaped peeler makes easy work of this) and cut the watermelon into thick wedges. Slice off the pink flesh and reserve for another use. Repeat with the other half until you’re left with only the white rind from the whole watermelon. Peel, slice, or chop the rind as needed for your recipes.