Sweet, Spicy Watermelon Pickle

11 Jul

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…..!


28 Responses to “Sweet, Spicy Watermelon Pickle”

  1. Peter Block July 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Looks great. how did it taste?

    • foodblogandthedog July 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      It’s kind of like a sweet and sour thing, totally addictive!

  2. thekalechronicles July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    This looks yummy, Natalie. Thanks.

  3. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise July 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    I am in love!
    pickled watermelon has been on my “want to try list” for over a year!

  4. Just A Smidgen July 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Such a pretty pickle as well.. love this recipe!

  5. janet @ the taste space July 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I was waiting for this post after you mentioned it. Rob has been pining watermelon pickle, whereas I have never even heard of it. Can`t wait to try it out. 🙂

  6. ceciliag July 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    natalie this looks fantastic and i have a watermelon in the fridge right now so i shall begin the process.. thank you so much.. c

  7. El Oso con Botas July 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    A really good idea for the rinds which is quite a lot when the watermelon “sandia” is big :). I like the mixed of spices you used and must be really good with some goat cheese or ham.

  8. Allison July 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Beautiful! Watermelon rind pickle is on my to-make-very-soon list, too! But I’m surprised that you left a little bit of pink flesh on the rind, I’ve never seen that included on pickles before. Definitely looks prettier that way. : )

  9. frugalfeeding July 11, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    What a good idea! I’ve never, ever seen a watermelon pickle… that means I’m very impressed indeed. You have actually expanded my mind… I now feel as though I could pickle anything.

  10. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 12, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    I love this idea and the idea of not composting the rind.

  11. Medeja July 12, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    This is really interesting recipe for watermelon! Saving for watermelon season 😀

  12. Smallpeace July 12, 2012 at 4:31 am #

    This is such a clever way to use the entire melon! I just made the most delicious tomato, feta cheese, red onion, and watermelon salad and composted the pretty rinds. Never again! I’m trying it this weekend at my country house. Oh and, have I said how much I love your new squash blossom masthead? So summery.

  13. kellie@foodtoglow July 12, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I love making homemade pickles and this great upcycle of rinds is a terrific idea. I normally give the rinds to my hens but I will save back a few for this. PS Loved Sitges! Great place and as we were there during Gay Pride Week it was also highly entertaining (the gratis Lady GaGa tribute act was stunning)

  14. dassana July 12, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    i liked this pickle. it would taste good with any indian meal.

  15. mjskit July 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    I love watermelon pickles and these look SO good! Great choice of seasoning! Beautiful pics! Congrats on the Top 9 @ Foodbuzz!

  16. peasepudding July 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Wow, I live this and can’t wait for watermelon season now!

  17. Tesney Ap July 21, 2012 at 3:26 am #

    What a awesome idea! I have never thought of eating watermelon rind before 🙂

  18. dassana July 22, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    i am wondering why you are not posting. you can make the theplas with coriander or spinach too or with any other greens.

    • foodblogandthedog July 22, 2012 at 10:08 am #

      Hi Dassana, I am in England this week visiting family so no cooking or blogging, feels very strange! I can’t wait to get back to try your theplas. I also have a new job as a menu consultant at a yoga retreat hotel and starting next week we are cooking lunch every day for a family of 14 people staying in a villa on the coast for 2 weeks. This leaves very little time for blogging and I miss it, but in Summer you have to take the work when you can get it because winter is very quiet! Take care, Natalie

      Sent from my iPad

      • dassana July 26, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

        thanks for replying natalie.

        i hope you enjoy your new job. i have had some stints in menu planning and i would break my head on it….. lol

        i do miss your posts. but i will wait till you come back with much more expertise and experience in creating & developing fab recipes. you also take care dear.

  19. Tammy July 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    What a great use of something that always ends up in my compost!

  20. Promenade Claire August 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Hi I just popped over from the Kale Chronicales and wanted to say hi, and I just love the idea of the pickle – and yes to a chilli or two to add some depth of flavour.

  21. Tandy August 10, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    I will keep this in mind for watermelon season 🙂


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