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Wonderful Watermelon Pickles

Jun 30, 2010 11:50PM ● Published by Erin Frisch

From Chef Jean-Pierre Debeuf’s Kitchen at Elixir in White River Junction, VT

Makes about 8 pints

Hard to find at a local grocery outside the south, these morsels will make you a believer the first time you try them. Save the rind from your next watermelon and take a little time over the following three days to complete a series of simple steps.

The First Day

  • Rind of a large watermelon
  • 3/4 cup pickling salt
  • 1 gallon of water
This is the toughest part of the process. Cut the watermelon rind into manageable chunks. Scrape any remaining red watermelon meat from the inside of the rind. Then pare off the hard green skin of the outer rind with a small knife. It’s not difficult, but it takes a while. Cube the rind into bite-size pieces.

In a large bowl, dissolve the salt in the water. Transfer the rind cubes to the salted water. Weight the rind down with a plate to keep it submerged. Soak the cubes at room temperature for 24 hours.

The Second Day

  • 6 cups sugar
  • 4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 lemons, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 4 sticks cinnamon, broken
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
Combine all the ingredients in a large sauce pan and bring them to a boil; simmer the syrup for about 5 minutes.

While the syrup simmers, drain the cubes, rinse, and drain again. Rinse the bowl the cubes were soaking in and return the cubes to the bowl. Pour the hot syrup over the cubes. Cover lightly and let sit at room temperature for another 24 hours.

The Third Day

Sterilize 8 pint canning jars according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Pour the cubes and the syrup into a large pan and bring the mixture to a boil. With a slotted spoon, pack the cubes lightly into the prepared jars, dividing the lemon slices and spices equally among the jars. Pour the syrup over the cubes, covering them but leaving about 1/2-inch at the top of each jar. Seal.

Process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Allow the pickles to sit for at least 1 week, and preferably several weeks, before serving.

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