Looking for ways to reduce food waste, then try these Quick Pickled Watermelon Rinds during watermelon season. The best is, no jarring skills or special equipment is needed with this recipe! Within 2 days you'll have sweet, tangy, and crunchy rinds to munch on as a snack, appetizer, or as a great addition to a salad!
💚 Why You'll Love This Recipe
What foods jump into your mind when you think of summer? My mind instantly goes to watermelon, corn on the cob, and tomatoes! While many of my favorite recipes include watermelon - watermelon gazpacho, watermelon salsa, and watermelon cosmos - that can leave lots of rinds to waste. Why not make use of them in this Quick Pickled Watermelon Rinds Recipe!
You'll love this zero-waste watermelon rind recipe for the sweet, tangy crunch of the rinds which is best compared to pickles. The tastes can vary on the additions you make to the brine, which leaves lots of room for creativity!
- Watermelon Rind - watermelon rind is the tough, outer layer of a watermelon, and is typically green on the exterior, fading to a pale white inside, before giving way to the red and pink flesh of the fruit itself.
- Apple Cider Vinegar & Water - apple cider vinegar has a distinct tang to it and is digestively healthy.
- Crystalized Ginger - crystalized ginger is sweeter than fresh ginger and a tasty ingredient to keep stocked in your pantry.
- Organic Cane Sugar - unrefined cane sugar has the full-bodied taste of sugar cane and is minimally processed.
- Fine Kosher Salt - kosher salt doesn't contain anti-caking agents which can cloud the pickling brine. If you can't find fine kosher salt, use a spice grinder to grind coarse salt.
- Star Anise Pod - gives a sweet, licorice-like hint of flavor.
- Cinnamon Stick - is always a great addition to hot liquids for extra flavor and health benefits.
- Bay Leaves - a great addition to pickling brine, soups, broths, and teas.
- Peppercorns - a versatile spice that is flavorful and commonplace for most recipes whether ground or whole.
✅ How To Make Quick Pickled Watermelon Rinds
Making pickled watermelon rinds requires three stages:
Stage 1 - cut watermelon rind into cubes, Stage 2 - measure, prep and cook brine, Stage 3 - refrigerate and pickle for 24 hours
Stage 1: How To Cut A Watermelon
- To get started, rinse the watermelon well under running water to remove any dirt. Dry and set it up on a large cutting board and knife.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the watermelon in half crosswise. Place the cut side down of one half and start slicing from one side to the other. Turn the watermelon and repeat slices to create cubed watermelon sticks.
Quick Tip: If you aren't familiar with how to cut a watermelon, it can be somewhat time-consuming and frustrating if not done properly. Follow these directions and you will find it easy and rewarding as you will end up with perfectly sized watermelon cubes for use in other recipes.
- Lay sections of cubed sticks down, cutting watermelon into separated cubes of bright pink flesh and rinds with a little flesh.
- Weigh the separated rinds and cut the amount needed for the recipe.
- For cubes without the green skin, use a knife (or peeler) to trim away the exterior leaving as much of the white part intact as possible.
- Dependent on the size of the watermelon, cut enough rind cubes (skin and/or no skin) for pickling.
Stage 2: Measure, Prep & Cook Brine Ingredients
- Gather the ingredients needed for pickling, measure and place in bowls for easy access.
Quick Tip: Since the amounts will vary dependent on the size of the watermelon, measure enough rinds to fill one 16 ounce glass jar. If your cubed rinds exceed that amount, increase the amount of brine you are making.
- Place all the ingredients, including the cubed watermelon rinds, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook an additional minute or until the sugar is dissolved.
Stage 3: Refrigerate Pickled Watermelon Rinds
- Ladle the ingredients into a 16-ounce glass mason jar, filling it to the top. Let it cool for 1 ½ hours, then refrigerate for 24 hours before consuming.
🌿 Recipe Variations
Get creative when pickling! Feel free to blend seasoning based on your taste buds or how you will further use your pickled watermelon rinds. Here are a few suggestions:
- Vinegar - apple cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice vinegar
- Spices - allspice berries, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, cloves, ginger (fresh), juniper berries
- Sweet - brown sugar, vanilla, maple syrup
- Spicy - garlic cloves, hot peppers, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes
🍽️ How To Serve
There are many ways to use pickled watermelon rinds. These are some of my favorites!
What to serve with Quick Pickled Watermelon Rinds?
Pickled watermelon rinds go great on a cheese platter! They add a sweet & sour flavor to the mix along with some crunch! This is a great opportunity to try some plant-based cheeses instead of dairy cheese to reduce your carbon footprint. Try my favorite - Miyoko's Classic Chive made with cashew milk!
Just like pickles, crunchy watermelon rinds taste great as a snack!
Pickled watermelon rinds are a great addition to a salad with a drizzle of brine and some olive oil!
You can also make Watermelon Rind Relish in just a few minutes! Simply mince your pickled watermelon rinds and use them to top vegan hot dogs, burgers, or sandwiches.
❄️ Storage Tips
It is best to store whole and sliced watermelon in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; after that, the flavor will begin to diminish. If not using your fresh watermelon within those few days you can freeze, cook, or juice watermelon leaving none left to waste.
Pickled watermelon rinds can last in the refrigerator for about 4 to 6 weeks. After a month they will lose that wonderful crunch, but they are safe to eat.
Short on time to make this recipe, you can freeze fresh watermelon rinds. Place them in a reusable freezer bag, squeeze out all the air from the bag, and seal it tightly. Place the bag in the freezer for up to one year. When ready to use, defrost and follow the recipe instructions.
Most people throw watermelon rinds in the garbage not knowing that watermelon rinds are delicious and nutritious! The rind of this fruit contains a large percentage of the nutrients. The watermelon rinds contain all the same nutrients as are found in the juicy fruit, but even higher concentrations of certain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and active ingredients. The rind is low in calories, and has the ability to improve the appearance of the skin, strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, aid in weight loss, and increase libido!
Watermelon can be frozen for up to one year in numerous ways. You can juice it, place it in ice cube trays and freeze it. Or cut into cubes separating the rinds, place on a lined baking sheet, place in a freezer, and once frozen place in separated freezer bags.
Cubed watermelon rinds are great in a sauté! Watermelon cubes with the green part of the rind intact hold up well when cooked. They will also add an extra bit of flavor and crunch to any recipe.
Watermelon is edible for dogs in moderation but the rind is too tough for a dog's digestive system. It is also recommended to remove the large black seeds as they can cause intestinal blockage.
Lightly knock the outside with your knuckles. A ripe melon will have a deeper sound, as opposed to an over-ripe one that will have a more hollow or flat sound. A ripe watermelon will have a dull, dark, green color. Watermelon is sweetest with orange spots instead of white.
🌎 Zero-Waste Tips
Top 5 Zero-Waste Tips For Watermelon:
- Refrigerate watermelon once ripened - best flavor when used within 5 days
- Use every part (flesh and rind) - great in smoothies, sautés, frozen drinks, gazpacho, preserves, ...
- Leftovers can be separated and frozen - thaw or blend frozen for a drink.
- Compost unused scraps - cut into smaller pieces so they decompose quicker.
- Buy whole and slice in half - then share with a neighbor!
♻️ Sustainability Suggestions
Watermelon rinds are great for compost and provide a boost of nitrogen, nutrients, and moisture to the compost pile.
- Cut chunky rinds into smaller cubes so they can decompose quicker.
- Watermelon rinds can be added to worm bins.
- Mix in with brown materials to soak up excess moisture from the rinds.
- Maintain your pile by keeping the bin covered and allow the rind to decompose.
Low Environmental Impact
Watermelon is sustainable with a low water and carbon footprint. Be sure to purchase Non-GMO and organic. Conventional watermelon is heavily sprayed with pesticides and can be harmful to wildlife and ecosystems.
Water footprint: takes 235 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of watermelon / 28 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of watermelon.
Carbon footprint: low, 0.14 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh watermelon, a car driving equivalent of 0.5 miles or 0.75 kilometers
More Pickling Recipes
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Quick Pickled Watermelon Rinds
- 1 2 quart pot
- 1 16 ounce glass jar
- 1 seedless watermelon medium size
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup crystalized ginger
- ¾ cup organic cane sugar
- 4 teaspoon fine kosher salt or pickling salt
- 1 star anise pod
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns or juniper berries
- Slice watermelon into halves. Using either a knife or vegetable peeler, peel the green skin off the watermelon, leaving as much of the white rind as possible.
- Slice the watermelon and then further cut it into 1 inch cubes.
- Add apple cider vinegar, water, ginger, sugar, salt, star anise, cinnamon bay leaves, and peppercorns into the sauce pot. Bring to a boil then add watermelon rinds.
- Bring to a boil and cook rinds for 5 minutes. Ladle into a 16-ounce glass jar. Be sure to fully cover the watermelon with pickling juice. Let cool at room temperature for 1 ½ hours.
- Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and consume within 1 month. Always keep refrigerated.
- The number of jars and brine needed for this recipe can vary dependent on the size of the watermelon. Cover the rinds thoroughly with brine, filling the glass jar to the top.
- Pickled watermelon rinds can last in the refrigerator for 4 - 6 weeks. They will get less crunchy the longer they pickle.
- Vary the brine ingredients for different flavors: use champagne vinegar for a less tart flavor than apple cider vinegar, reduce the sugar for less sweetness, or add hot peppers for a spicy kick.