A few summers ago, I was hired to represent the Watermelon Board at a trade show and serve watermelon pickles. Really at first, I thought it was maybe a joke and, it wasn’t.
I had never really heard of watermelon pickles nor made them but, I did suddenly remember that when I was the Spanish Bar Chef, one of the chefs in the kitchen used to make them. He had worked in New Orleans for several years, and I believe they were a big deal in the Crescent City. I never tried them when he made them and couldn’t guess that I would be a fan if I did.
However. They were a huge hit at the trade show, people were very intrigued, and it opened a lot of wonderful conversations!
This is a good time to serve something cool and interesting, intrigue friends and loved ones, and enjoy wonderful conversations, don’t you think so? I do.
Watermelon pickles round out a picnic or bbq menu, are yummy as a midnight snack, pair well with meats and cheeses, and may just surprise you and yours with their simplicity and summer appeal.
Visit Penzey’s for the few tricky pickling ingredients!
4 cups water
1 Tbsp coarse salt
3 cups peeled watermelon rind, cut into thick strips (about 2” pieces, 1” thick)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 allspice berries
½ cup apple cider vinegar
6 whole cloves
½ tsp pickling spice
1 3” thin slice fresh ginger
½ tsp celery seed
In large pot, bring water and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 4 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid. Transfer rinds to large glass bowl.
Return reserved liquid to pot and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Simmer for about 22 minutes, until liquid is slightly reduced.
Pour liquid over rinds in glass bowl, and place heavy plate on top of rinds so that they will remain submerged in the liquid. Refrigerate for a day, then transfer liquid and rinds to glass jar(s) and keep sealed in fridge for up to 3 weeks.
These may be served with other pickled vegetables, olives, charcuterie, as snacks or alongside sandwiches.
To make it more complicated 😉 – Try placing a piece of favorite cheese on top of a pickle and wrap with a piece of partially cooked bacon. Broil under high heat until bacon crisps; enjoy warm.
Yields about 3 cups of pickles.