This is what I made with the watermelon rinds I had leftover from making the Watermelon Agua Fresca in my last post.
It’s a sweet spicy pickle perfect to serve as a relish on burgers, at barbeques or as part of a picnic lunch. It’s great with mature sharp cheeses like goat’s cheese, Manchego, Cheddar or Feta or with salty cured hams like Serrano and Parma, you could even serve it with a whole roast ham or gammon steak. It would also be a very welcome addition to any Indian meal.
It’s really simple to make but you do it over three days. Don’t let that put you off, you’re not working on it for three whole days or anything silly. You leave it covered in its syrup overnight in the fridge then take it out in the morning, drain it into a saucepan, bring the syrup to a boil and then pour it back over the watermelon. Then put it back in the fridge until the next morning and repeat the process once more.
The original recipe didn’t have any chilli in it but my chilli pepper plant has just started to produce some little green babies so I added a few whole ones to the pot with the whole spices. You’ve got to have a little heat in a pickle or what’s the point?
Watermelon Pickle Recipe
Makes 1 big jar, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Epicurious
- 2kg (4 pound) watermelon, quartered & sliced into 1 inch thick wedges/triangles
- 1.75 litres (8 cups) water
- 2 tbsp sea salt plus 2 tsp
- 450 g (2 cups) sugar
- 275 ml (1+1/4 cups) apple cider vinegar
- 8 cloves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 1 tsp grated/minced ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 8 allspice berries
- 3 whole green (or red) chillies
Cut the watermelon flesh from the rind leaving a thin layer of pink on the rind. Use the flesh to make agua fresca or watermelon feta & mint salad. Cut off the dark green part of the rind and discard it. Then cut the rind into 1 inch pieces.
Bring the water and 2 tbsp salt to a boil in a large saucepan then add the rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer them to a metal bowl with the whole chillies.
Add the 2 tsp salt, sugar and the rest of the ingredients to a large saucepan, bring to the boil, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves. Pour this over the watermelon rinds and chillies in the bowl then place a plate on top to keep the rinds under the syrup. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
The next day strain the syrup from the rinds into a saucepan, bring the syrup to the boil and pour it back over the rinds in the bowl. Cover with the plate again and the cling film and leave again overnight.
Repeat straining, boiling and pouring over rinds one more time and leave again, covered in fridge overnight. Then spoon the rinds and spices into a sterilised jar, pour over the syrup so it covers the top of the rinds and seal. Store in the fridge.
I really enjoyed making something so delicious out of something that would normally just get thrown away. Means more money to spend on shoes…..!