Watermelon pickle is made using the white part of the watermelon's rind. It is delicious by itself as a winter treat or as a condiment with turnip greens or turkey and cornbread dressing. Home canning is a delightful cooking experience, but requires equipment such as a canner (very large pot), a rack for the jars to rest in, and the jars and lids. I recommend following the home canning guidance in the 'Ball Blue Book of Preserving' to obtain precise instructions on how to sterilize jars and guarantee results that are tasty and safe.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
1 hr
additional:
20 hrs
total:
21 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
24
Yield:
6 pints
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Ingredients

24
Original recipe yields 24 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir canning salt into 1 gallon water in a large container until dissolved; add watermelon rind. Cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid and let sit 12 hours. Drain and rinse completely.

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  • Combine drained watermelon rind and 1 gallon water in a stock pot. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the rind is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour; drain and set aside.

  • Put cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves in cheesecloth or spice bag. Combine vinegar, sugar, spice bag, maraschino cherries, and lemon slices in the stock pot; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add watermelon rind to the pot; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the rind is transparent, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the spice bag and set aside.

  • Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Put one whole clove into each jar. Break cinnamon sticks into pieces and put 1 piece into each jar.

  • Pack the watermelon rind with the vinegar mixture into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids and screw on rings.

  • Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil and lower jars into the boiling water using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary to bring the water level to at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a rolling boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.

  • Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area.

Nutrition Facts

136 calories; protein 0.7g; carbohydrates 34.2g; fat 0.5g; sodium 4624.2mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (11)

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
11/28/2013
First and last time growing watermelons in So Cal. Only got ONE watermelon from a jungle of vines (squirrels got two other ones! #( @) So I was determined to make the very best of that darn melon. This recipe was clear and easy. However peeling a watermelon resulted in me inventing new swear words. I'm lucky I still have all my fingers. Not a fun process. BUT...the taste of this recipe is delightful. I actually would be willing to use it again on a Farmer's Market organic melon. Read More
(9)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
07/28/2013
It has great potential and probably I did something wrong the first time, but the amount of water & salt seemed very excessive. I cut back by half the second time and ooh-la-la. I agree with an earlier poster - use fresh spices for the canning. I doubled the spices in the jars the second time & added some whole allspice. And I have experimented, adding some pineapple chunks and dried cranberries a few times. Nice. This is *really* is a great base recipe, I've enjoyed it and I can see doing a lot with it as time goes on. Thanks for sharing, Keryne. Read More
(12)
12 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 3 stars
07/28/2013
It has great potential and probably I did something wrong the first time, but the amount of water & salt seemed very excessive. I cut back by half the second time and ooh-la-la. I agree with an earlier poster - use fresh spices for the canning. I doubled the spices in the jars the second time & added some whole allspice. And I have experimented, adding some pineapple chunks and dried cranberries a few times. Nice. This is *really* is a great base recipe, I've enjoyed it and I can see doing a lot with it as time goes on. Thanks for sharing, Keryne. Read More
(12)
Rating: 4 stars
11/27/2013
First and last time growing watermelons in So Cal. Only got ONE watermelon from a jungle of vines (squirrels got two other ones! #( @) So I was determined to make the very best of that darn melon. This recipe was clear and easy. However peeling a watermelon resulted in me inventing new swear words. I'm lucky I still have all my fingers. Not a fun process. BUT...the taste of this recipe is delightful. I actually would be willing to use it again on a Farmer's Market organic melon. Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
07/13/2016
I made these last summer, and they were a hit - especially at Christmas dinner with family. This year I bought a 20+lb watermelon. This produced about 20 cups of cut up cubes which filled 12 pint jars. I find the easiest way to peel is the following: cut watermelon in half lengthwise. Cut each half again lengthwise. Cut each of these sections into slices about 1 1/2" thick. I then peel each section with a vegetable peeler. I leave a little of the pink on as I think it makes a prettier pickle. I added about 1/2 t of red pepper flakes to 3 of the jars for my friends who like things spicy. . Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
07/21/2013
This was my first experience with canning. The watermelon rinds tasted like sweet pickles and the juice had a very nice flavor. The only thing that was unclear to me was whether to use fresh cinnamon and clove in the jar or use the spices in the cooked packet. I used the spices that I prepared for the packet but next time I will use a fresh cinnamon stick and clove for the jar. This was a good recipe and I will certainly try it again. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
09/08/2014
After trying several other pickled watermelon rind recipes (some from this site), I finally found one that replicated the tangy, sweet flavor that I remembered from my childhood. I have made it several times, and have made only one alteration to the recipe as written: I did not cook the rinds 45 minutes, only about 20 minutes and they were plenty soft. Try to get a melon with a thick rind which is easier to "peel"…the small seedless varieties tend to have thin skins and are harder to prepare. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
06/18/2013
These pickles have a very complex flavor. Everyone at one of our family gatherings just loved them. I will probably make them again. I just need more watermelon rind. Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
06/19/2018
What an interesting taste! I had never had pickled watermelon rind before. While the watermelon has almost no taste it is an excellent vehicle for sugar and spices. I expected it to be crisp like a pickle but it wasn t. It s still an intriguing taste. I did make one change which I don t usually do the first time a make a recipe. I used about 3/4 inch of ginger cut into thin slices which I added to the spice bag. I used this recipe because it used less sugar than other recipes I had studied. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
09/07/2013
Excellent. I thought i was doing something wrong and wasn't going to have enough liquid to fill the jars with the pickles but it worked. I omitted the clove/cinnamon in the jar but added a little extra cinnamon and about 1/8 tsp of nutmeg to the pot while boiling (step #3). Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/07/2019
They are out of this world delicious. So easy to make. The only thing time consuming is waiting for the watermelon to process in the refrigerator overnight. They taste like my aunt and used to make. They were a delicacy our whole lives. Just plain yummy. Read More