We don’t often think about the rind of watermelon – do you? This year I have decided to pickle it, to extend our focus on lowering food waste and, as much as possible, using every edible part of a plant.
Pickling watermelon rind is quite easy but does take a couple of non-effort days. I have followed the non-cook approach, although some recipes do simmer the rind before or during pickling.
First the rind, sans the green skin, is salted overnight (soaked in brine), then rinsed and placed in a pickling liquid of vinegar and spices. It is edible after 1 hour, but is better if left a few days. It will keep indefinitely if stored in sterilised jars in the fridge.
In Nopi, Ottolenghi has an approach to pickling the rind which is pretty much the same as most other recipes. He uses the rind in a Watermelon Soup and also in a Watermelon Salad. They both sound delicious.
Pickled Watermelon Rind
rind from watermelon – leave a little of the pink flesh, not much, and remove the green skin
3 Tblspn salt
200 ml cider vinegar
250ml rice vinegar
60g castor sugar
0.5 tspn whole cloves
1 tspn yellow mustard seeds
1 tspn coriander seeds
1 medium cinnamon stick
1 tspn black peppercorns or use 5 pippali peppers
1 tspn allspice berries
1 slice ginger root (optional)
Cut the rind into long, thin strips about 4 – 5 cm long and 3mm wide. (You can cut into cubes if you prefer but leave for at least a day before consuming the pickle.)
Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the salt. Bring to the boil to dissolve the salt, then remove from the heat and cool. Pour the cooled brine over the rind and leave in the fridge, covered, for 24 hours.
Drain the rind, rinse it under clean water and set aside.
Put the two vinegars, 200ml water and spices into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and then set aside to cool.
Pour the cooled pickling liquid over the rind and set aside for one hour before use. If wanting to keep for longer, place the rind and pickling liquid in a sterilised jar, cover and keep in the fridge. Try after a week – it will be amazing. It will keep for months and will the longer the rind gets pickled, the softer it becomes and the more intense the flavour.
recipe notes and alternatives
Shred or chop the pickled rind to give a real lift to salads.