I’ve been enjoying watermelon lately. I usually just buy a quarter or half melon, partly because Rich doesn’t really like it and a whole is just too darned much to get through; but mostly because I can see what the insides are like when I choose my melon. I have very definite ideas about how a great tasting melon should look. Not necessarily correct ideas, but, well, it works sometimes.
Irregardless, eating all that melon means I am chucking a bunch of rind, and that bugged me a bit, so I thought to try a pickle.
INGREDIENTS (for 1/2 Watermelon)
•3-1/2 cup peeled, cubed watermelon rind
•2 tbsp pickling salt
•2 cups water
•1 cup sugar
•1/2 cup cider vinegar
•2 tbsp white vinegar
•1/2 cup water
•1 cinnamon stick
•5 whole cloves
•4 black peppercorns
•1/8 tsp allspice
•1/8 tsp ground ginger
•1/8 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/8 tsp Caribbean Calypso Seasoning
or, just add orange or lemon jest and a bit of crushed red pepper
•1/8 tsp celery seed
Stir the pickling salt into the 2 cups of water, pour over the prepared rind in a bowl, cover, and set aside on the counter over night.
Drain and rinse the rind well, then add to a large pot, cover with fresh, cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes, drain.
Strain the mixture, saving the cinnamon stick, and pour the pickling liquid over the simmered watermelon rind.
Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer until the watermelon rind is translucent – about 90 minutes – checking that the liquid hasn’t boiled away, and giving everything a stir when you think about it.
In the end, you’ll end up with a kind of a ‘candied fruit’ looking pot of now nicely pickled watermelon rind, which you can feel free to eat as it is, or pop into sterilized jars and precessing in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.
Now, about the pickle itself…
Garrison Keillor once noted that the true reason folk gathered around the table to give thanks every November (October in Canada), was that it was the only time of the year they were expected to deal with watermelon pickle.
I kind of agree.
It makes for a beautiful pickle jar; but is just too sweet for my tastes. As a control group, I drafted my unsuspecting neighbors into a taste taste, and they concurred.
Too sweet, and not really much else going for it. Mebbe more crushed red pepper and/or some jalapeño? I dunno, we will have to wait until I next feel guilty enough about chucking those watermelon rinds to try another batch.