Canning 101: Watermelon Rind Pickles

I only started canning about a year ago, but in that time I've made various jams, jellies and marmalades. Out of everything I tried, I think these Watermelon Rind Pickles are my favorite. They are a nice alternative to regular pickles when accompanying burgers on the grill - sweet and tangy with a hint of spice. If you choose a watermelon with a nice thick rind, your pickles will be firm with a bit of crunch.

Canning the watermelon pickles involves a process spread over the course of three days, so you do need to set aside a block of time for them on each of three successive days, but the steps are pretty straightforward. This recipe is adapted from one I found in a magazine last summer.

Watermelon Rind Pickles
(yields 3-4 pints)


1/2 Cup pickling lime
1/2 large oval watermelon or one medium melon ( to yield about 8 cups of rind cubes)
6x6" square of cheesecloth
2 Tablespoons whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 Cups granulated sugar
2 Cups white vinegar

Day 1

Remove the skin from the watermelon, trying to leave as much rind intact as possible.  Scrape out the flesh and set aside.  Dice the rind into 1" cubes.  Whisk the pickling lime into 4 cups of water in a large bowl and add the rind cubes.  Cover bowl and let sit overnight on the counter.

Chop up the rind and flesh for your chickens or ducks. They will love it!

Day 2

Drain the rind and rinse well., then place in a large saucepan and cover completely with water.  Bring to a boil, then drain again and rinse. Set aside.

To the saucepan, add 2 cups water, sugar and vinegar. Place the cloves and cinnamon on the cheesecloth and tie the corner together to form a sachet. Place the sachet into the saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture over the rind and let sit overnight covered.

Day 3

Sterilize your canning jars in your water-bath canner, covering them with water and bringing to a boil. Meanwhile, return the rind and spiced liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the rind is translucent but not mushy, 8-10 minutes.  Remove your jars from the water bath. Remove the spice bag and pack the rind cubes into the hot jars leaving 1/2 inch at the top.

Ladle the hot syrup over the cubes to cover them completely. Slide a knife inside the jar walls to remove air bubbles.  Screw on the jar lids, place in the water-bath, cover and process for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat, remove the cover and let the jars sit for 5 additional minutes. Carefully remove the jars, let cool, then store in a cool, dry place.

The pickles should last for up to 18 months unopened. Let me know if you try this recipe what you think of it! I would love to hear from you.


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  2. I've wanted a recipe for pickled watermelon rinds! Thanks!

  3. I've read about these, but have never tasted them..they sound yummy. But I have the feeling that pickling lime isn't something that we can find anywhere around here.


    1. But how do you make pickles then? Can you order from amazon? I bet they sell it.

  4. Pinned to my Easy to be Green board! These gotta taste sweet and sour right?! I always thought it was such a waste to throw a good portion of the watermelon away!


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