Growing up, we never had pickled watermelon rind, but it's pretty old-school Southern, so we had to try it and see what all the fuss is about. And what could be better than using up all the parts of an oversized watermelon and cutting way down on waste by making something surprisingly different and really good? One summer, we learned how to pickle rind, and after that practice round, now we know how to get it right. One trick is to avoid using big slices of the white rind; a fine dice is more visually appealing and easier to use as an accent on a cheese plate or salad instead of the focus of a dish.
These have more of an Asian flavor profile, and despite all the sugar in the recipe, our recipe yields a pickle that's far from syrupy sweet. With the other part of the watermelon, make our watermelon-jalapeno margaritas, watermelon-tomato gazpacho, or grilled watermelon salad. (We're going to be working on a lot of pickling projects in the next few weeks -- can't wait to share them with you!)
Pickled Watermelon Rind
1 cup watermelon rind (just the tough white part, finely and evenly diced)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2-inch piece fresh ginger (thinly sliced)
1 2-inch piece of lime rind
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons cane sugar (like Whole Foods 365 Vegan Cane Sugar)
1/4 teaspoon iodized sea salt
Place diced watermelon rind in a 1 1/2-cup jar. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, ginger, lime rind, coriander, cinnamon stick, sugar, and salt up to a boil. Pour the liquid over the rind and let it cool on the counter for about an hour before sealing jar and storing in the fridge for up to a month.
*Watermelon rind is a good source of the amino acid citrulline and offers cardiovascular health benefits.