Home Canning Series - II: Watermelon Rind Pickle
Recipe contributed by A. Dabney Harvey
Watermelon Rind Pickle is an old southern favorite. There are many
variations on how it is made. This recipe is a two day process. To keep
the pickle from turning dark it is recommended that stainless steel,
crockery, or enamelware utensils be used. Do not wash or soak the rind
unless directed by the recipe.
Prepare 5 pounds of watermelon rind by peeling and removing fleshy red part of melon. Cut the peeled rind into pieces 1" x 1/2" x thickness of the rind.
Prepare 1 gallon of lime water in a container large enough to hold prepared rind following directions on pickling lime bag. A suggested ratio is one cup of lime to a gallon of water. Put the lime in the container first and pour the water over it. The mixture may get hot when mixed and not all of the lime will dissolve. Leave the undissolved lime in the water.
Add prepared rind to the lime water. Make sure all pieces of rind are covered by the lime water. A dinner plate with a weight on it will hold the rind under the lime water. Stir occasionally to bring fresh mixture in contact with the rind.
Spoon the watermelon rind into a colander leaving the undissolved lime in the soaking bowl. Rinse the watermelon rind to remove as much lime residue as possible. The spray attachment on your sink is ideal for this if you have one. Set rind aside in colander to drain.
In an 8 quart minimum stainless steel or enamelware stock pot:
- Combine 1 quart white vinegar with 1 quart of water
- Heat water and vinegar to a low boil
- Add 5 pounds granulated sugar to the hot vinegar and water and stir until dissolved.
- Add salt and stir until dissolved
- Add lemon slices
- Add 1 teaspoon oil of cloves
- Add 1 teaspoon oil of cinnamon
- Add prepared watermelon rind
Bring pickle to a low boil and cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep all pickle pieces covered. Pickle should be relatively crisp and be semitransparent to transparent when done.
Sterilize canning jars and lids as needed in boiling water. (See directions that accompany canning jars and/or lids.)
Pack hot pickle into hot jars a few pieces at a time, packing the pieces down tightly with a bamboo skewer. (You may have to cut pieces to make smaller ones to fit in the spaces.) Then add hot syrup leaving 3/4 to 1 inch of head space. Wipe lip of jar to remove any pickling syrup. Add lids and rings. Cool to room temperature. Jars will seal by themselves as they cool.
Pickle is better if not used immediately. Allow 30-60 days for flavors to penetrate.
Note: Oils may be found in the spice section of organic food stores and upscale food specialty stores in 1 ounce bottles. Some grocery and drug stores may also have them. Use with caution as a little goes a long way. Avoid imitation oils if possible. Canning jars and other supplies are available at your local Southern States dealer.