A friend on a different floor of our high-rise is both a foodie and a great cook. We often share extra produce, and the other day she called to offer a quarter watermelon—they had bought a huge one and had no more room in their fridge.
When I went to pick it up, I noticed she had skinned the outer portion of the rind and cut it into four-inch strips. When I asked about them, she told me something I’d never heard of or considered: pickled watermelon rinds.
Sound weird? Yup. Tastes good? Oh yeah.
Needless to say, I got home and looked online for some recipes, and there are tons of them. The one I used is a Food & Wine recipe that’s part of a larger recipe for grilled-chicken lettuce wraps.
These pickles are super-easy to make, and they taste fantastic. I think they last at least a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, as evidenced by me not being dead from eating them after that long.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 0.5 cups water
- 1T kosher salt (less works, too)
- One 1-inch slice of crystallized ginger (you can skip this to no ill effect to the recipe)
- 1 star anise (I used 3)
- Watermelon rind with the green skin and all but 1/4 inch of the red flesh removed, rind sliced 1 inch wide and about 4 inches long, or whatever. You can cut them into the size that works best for you after they’re cooked and cooled.
What to do:
Combine in a medium saucepan the vinegar, sugar, water, salt, ginger and star anise and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Add the watermelon rind and boil for 1 minute, then transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
Let the rind cool to a reasonable degree, then refrigerate it for 3 hours.
Drain well and cut to whatever size you like.