Love watermelon as much as I do? Save those leftover rinds and make this delicious pickled watermelon rind recipe!
I’ll walk you through how to make both a spicy jalapeno and a masala/Indian-spiced version. Both are easy and super tasty – perfect to add a boost of flavor to your meals, or enjoy them on their own!
Pickled watermelon rind in a cute jar also makes a fun holiday gift; I’ll share some inspiration and tips for that later in the post. 🙂
Thank you to my friends at The Watermelon Board for sponsoring this post!
There are tons of great uses for watermelon rind (like coleslaw, tzatziki, and gazpacho), and this is one of my new favorites. I love having pickled rinds on hand to add into a dish or snack on.
It’s actually a lot simpler than you might think to make these, and you’ll be reducing food waste, too!
How to Make Watermelon Rind Pickles
I’ll go over more specifics shortly, but in general, here’s how to make pickled watermelon rind:
- Combine apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and spices in a pot. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar & salt.
- Separately, pack the sliced watermelon rind into jars, leaving a little space at the top.
- Pour the hot liquid over the rinds, covering completely. (Save any extra pickling liquid in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month if desired. You can heat up and re-use the liquid for more pickling.)
- Seal jars and store in the fridge for up to 3 months.
A quick note on the spices: I recommend using whole spices here rather than ground ones. I think the whole spices look really pretty floating around in the jars. Plus, ground spices tend to make the pickling liquid cloudy/muddy.
It’ll taste about the same either way, but with ground spices, you’ll end up with sediment at the bottom and a cloudy liquid.
I know most people don’t have a huge variety of whole spices sitting in their cabinets, so use whatever you’d like! But if you can, I do recommend buying whole spices – the cheapest way to do so is from the bulk section of your grocery store.
As for the jars, the ones pictured here are two 10 oz jars, which are cute but can be a difficult size to find. For “regular” size jars, I’d lean towards under-filling 16 oz jars, rather than over-filling 8 oz jars.
If you’re planning to gift the pickles, you could always split between several smaller jars such as 4 oz jars. If you’re just making these for yourself or want to gift a bigger jar, each recipe should easily fit into a 32 oz jar with room to spare.
Spicy Pickled Jalapeno & Watermelon Rind
These jalapeno slices pickled with watermelon rind are sweet and spicy!
The pickling brine is simplified a bit in this version, since the jalapeños add great heat and flavor. This one would be perfect to add some heat and acidity to grilled steak or fish tacos. It’d be an especially good addition to my Roasted Salmon with Watermelon Salsa, actually, too!
Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:
Start by combining the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, coriander, cumin, and peppercorns in a pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Place sliced watermelon rind and jalapeños into jars, leaving a little space at the top. Next, pour the liquid over the top, covering them completely.
Seal the jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. That’s it!
Masala-Spiced Watermelon Rind Pickles
These Indian-spiced watermelon rind pickles work as a chutney-style accompaniment to keep in the fridge. Despite the cinnamon addition, it’s still very much a savory condiment.
The spices were inspired from a masala blend recipe in an Indian cookbook, but here they’ve been added in whole!
The result is floral yet savory with a little heat. Perfect for topping a curried lentil stew or chana masala-style dish. It would be great on my Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala!
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- apple cider vinegar
- granulated (white) sugar
- kosher salt
- fennel seeds
- cumin seeds
- coriander seeds
- black peppercorns
- ground turmeric (or a few slices of fresh turmeric root, if you can find it)
- crushed red pepper flakes
- bay leaves
- cinnamon sticks
- thinly sliced watermelon rind (just the white part; a little pink flesh is fine)
Start by combining the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and all spices (fennel seeds through cinnamon sticks). Bring to a boil over high heat and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Place sliced watermelon rind into jars, leaving a little space at the top. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks from the pot. Nestle into the jars with the watermelon rind. Next, pour the liquid over the top, covering everything completely.
Seal into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Homemade Holiday Gift Idea: Pickles in a Jar
Homemade gifts are such a fun way to show someone you care. Plus, who doesn’t love food-related gifts? 🙂
These pickled watermelon rinds in a jar make a fabulous holiday gift for friends or family. Just tie a cute bow around the jar and it’s ready to give!
A Note on Food Safety
Just a heads up that while these jars of pickled watermelon rind would make great gifts for local friends or family who you can tell to put them in the fridge, I wouldn’t recommend putting them in the mail or leaving them wrapped under the tree. This is because they aren’t shelf-stable unless you process them in a canner or similar setup.
So: don’t leave them at room temp, but they should last a long time in the fridge – about 3 months! They can sometimes start to get a little cloudy or soft after several months, but as long as they’re not moldy, they’re safe to eat!
I hope you enjoy these! The full pickled watermelon rind recipes (two ways) are at the bottom of this post.
What’s your favorite homemade gift to give during the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!
Looking for more tasty watermelon recipes? Check these out:
Read more: Quick Pickled Radishes | Family Cuisine
- Watermelon Chicken with Balsamic Glaze
- Fall Harvest Salad with Watermelon
- Watermelon Mojito Sorbet
- Sesame Shrimp and Watermelon Salad
- Watermelon Rind Gazpacho
- Watermelon Rind Coleslaw
- Chicken Gyros with Watermelon Rind Tzatziki
- Watermelon Rind Curry
- Roasted Salmon with Watermelon Salsa