The last couple of months, fresh watermelon has been my snack of choice. It’s the only thing I let myself eat when I’m watching tv. The problem is I’ve been cutting up so many watermelon rinds to compost that I thought ” I need to try pickling some”. I did and they turned out surprisingly awesome. I am not one for complicated recipes or something that has lots of steps and keeps me in the kitchen for hours. I went online and began looking at recipes for pickles and saw everything had to be soaked overnight and boiled and fermented for weeks. Forget that. I remembered an episode of Chopped where someone made a pickled relish during one of the challenges, so I Googled “quick pickles” and began reading at the links that came up.
I tried first with some cucumbers and I made a few small batches so I would know how the different spices and vinegars interacted. It worked so well I used the same for the watermelon rind. I used only what I had onhand, so I didn’t get fancy. I made a simple preparation using only:
rice wine vinegar
sea salt (do not used iodized salt)
I first cut up the watermelon rind into small pieces, like a chunky relish size. I saw that many of the cooked recipes for pickled rind said that, once it’s fermented, the consistency is of a ripe pear. I didn’t want that. I wanted them crispy like pickles, so this doesn’t get cooked.
I’m also not making pounds of it, merely a few zip lock baggies full. I poured about a cup of rice wine vinegar into a small saucepan and then a few splashes of raspberry balsamic vinegar. Put the heat on medium to warm it.
I did a quick crush using mortar and pestle of a teaspoon each of the mustard and coriander seeds. I added them to the vinegar along with 2 teaspoons of white sugar. You just want to heat enough to melt the sugar, then remove from the heat and let cool.
I chopped the watermelon rind into small chunks and slivers, and also chopped half of a red onion, for color. Toss that into the saucepan as it cools. You can also throw in a few capers if you like them. I tossed in some chopped cucumbers as well.
Once cooled, pour the mixture into small baggies, seal and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours. They have more flavor if left overnight but are good in a few hours.
I also tried a version adding some slivered carrot, celery and squash and they were great. I slice the veggies thin or dice small so it is relish-like instead of big chunks. I don’t know how long it would take for the vinegar to soak into big chunks.
I also tried a batch using a cinnamon stick and fresh ginger. I’ve also added a few allspice berries and liked the flavor. I’ve added fresh rosemary and liked that flavor as well.
In my quest to find ever more delicious light and healthy foods, I have a renewed interest in pickles and relishes. This is a great way to make the most of the many watermelon rinds this time of year.
And a great way to add flavor without fat to my foods.
I’m all for that!