Brooding On

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Though I've never seen or heard of them before, pickled melon rind is apparently an old southern delicacy.  I realize these may not be for everyone, but they are actually pretty good.  AND, they make use of a part of the melon that even the goats don't want to eat, so that's super homestead-y (yes, that' s my new made-up word).  

To make them, you'll need . . . 
about 6 lbs. of watermelon rind
3/4 c. salt
3 qt. water
about 2 trays of ice cubes
9 c. sugar (yes, you read that right)
3 c. white vinegar
3 c. water
1 Tbs. whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks, 1" pieces
1 lemon, thinly sliced with seeds removed

Day 1:  Using a vegetable peeler, remove the hard, green, outermost part of the rind.  Also, remove all the pink from the innermost part of the rind.  Cut into whatever shape you prefer (I cut mine into long, thin strips).  Cover with brine made by mixing the salt with 3 quarts cold water.  Add ice cubes.  Let stand 3-4 hours.  

Drain; rinse in cold water.  Cover with cold water and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain.

Combine sugar, vinegar, water, and spices (tied in a clean, thin, white cloth -- I used butter muslin).  Boil 5 minutes and pour over the watermelon;  add lemon slices. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.

Day 2:  Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling and cook slowly 1 hour.  Pack hot pickles loosely into clean, hot pint jars.  To each jar add 1 piece of stick cinnamon from spice bag;  cover with boiling syrup to 1/2 inch from the top.  Remove air bubbles.  Wipe jar rims.  Adjust lids.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.