Pickled watermelon rind

sometimes even the un-eatable becomes delicious.

I am always grateful for a new good recipe. Each new recipe is a true slice of happiness for me. It becomes part of my life, I will make over and over again, I will warmly recommend it to others.
Immodestly – and despite all my experiments –  I have to confess that rarely I find something that is so memorable, simple and intense that I fall in love with.
This recipe is a splendid gift of John S. whom I will thank forever. It is exotically American but it pairs beautifully with our Prosciutto di Norcia or a nice aged pecorino. This is my type of fusion food.
I use the rind of one watermelon. When we have a good watermelon, every day I remove the rind from the slices we’ll eat after our meal. I keep the rinds in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until the watermelon is finished, generally 3-4 days. This way I don’t have to clean a whole watermelon if I don’t need to.

  • 1 water melon
  • salt
  • 2 kg (9 cups) sugar
  • 1lt. (4 cups) vinegar
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp of allspice or ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom pods

Cut the rind into strips and remove the green outer skin. Dice into cubes about 1 cm (1/2 inch) long. Don’t make the cubes too small or they will become mushy when cooked.
Place the cubes in a large bowl and cover with water adding 2 tbsp. salt per liter (quart) of water. Place a weight over the rind and let it soak overnight.
Drain and rinse in fresh water. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the rind until just tender, approx. 1/2 hr. Drain and cool down in ice water.
In a separate pan prepare a spiced syrup using  4 cups of water,  the  sugar,  vinegar and spices. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add rinds and boil for 1/2 hr.
Pack the rind cubes into sterilized jam jars and cover withe the hot syrup, seal. Wait at least for 4 weeks before using.
One whole water melon yields about 2. 5 kg. (5 lbs) rind and makes five 1/2 lt (1 pint)  jars
letizia mattiacci on Foodista


  1. Ehem…. watermelon is NOT my favourite thing in the world, but neither were raw zucchini and I LOVED your zucchini carpaccio recipe. This recipe looks really yummy, I guess I’ll have to it a try too… the only problem is what will I do with the rest of the watermelon? 😉 😀

  2. I am SO going to make this! It might even be the first thing to come out of my new kitchen!

  3. Giulia, I am sure you will love it, there is cardamom. How about serving the red part for breakfast?
    Giselle, I hope this means that the new kitchen is ready!

  4. Wow — this looks really unique, Letizia. I’ve not ever heard of watermelon rind having a purpose. But it sounds so tasty!

  5. Definitely must try this recipe. Never even dreamed of eating rinds. I have a water mellon in my fridge waiting to be eaten and then contribute the rinds for this experiment.
    Let you know how it turns out

  6. Sandra, I must remember to keep a jar for you next year. I always make far too little but it is hard to put together large amounts of melon rind!
    Marianna, make sure to wait a few weeks before eating it. It does improve a lot with time. And with a really good aged prosciutto if you can get some.

  7. I already tried a taste, couldn’t wait 2 weeks to try. It’s already very good even after a few days. I’m planning on introducing family and friends who love pickled foods. Thanks for sharing this wonderful find

  8. Hey, this looks so promising, thanks for sharing! I really would love to try this one day, so for now i’m keeping this on my Favorites. 😀 On that note, I’d love to spread the recipe and share it with my friends in Foodista too, if you don’t mind? Just add the foodista widget for watermelon at the end of this post, and that should do it! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, I know I’m gonna love this one xx
    Cheers from Australia,
    Amy @ Foodista

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