A perfectly pickled watermelon rind is the southern way of bringing summertime to the dinner table all year long.
The recipe that makes my family’s mouth water goes something like this:
1 large watermelon rind
1 quart water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 quart cider vinegar
8 cups sugar
8 whole cinnamon sticks – broken up
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon allspice berries
Prepare watermelon rind by peeling and removing all green and pink portions from rind. Combine water and kosher sald. Cut prepared rind into 1 inch cubes and soak overnight in salt water.
Drain soaked rind and cover with fresh water.
Bring rind to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, until fork-tender. Drain. Make a syrup of vinegar and sugar. Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag and add to syrup. Boil the mixture for 15 minutes, then let stand spice bag steep for 15 minutes.
Remove spice bag and add drained watermelon rind. Bring rind to a boil and cook until rind is almost clear. Pack into sterile jars and seal according to manufacturer’s instructions. Chill overnight before serving.
Makes 6 pints.