I invited our honorary sister Nicole (she of the welcomed abundance of post-church-potluck molé) to come over and share one of her family’s heirloom recipes, which is very timely in mid-August. I give you Nicole’s Grandfather’s WATERMELON PICKLES! (wild applause)
For goodness sakes, do NOT throw away your watermelon rinds!!!
In the tradition of all great “North Dakota-Farm-Families-That-Aren’t-Sure-
If-The-Great-Depression-Is-Really-Over-Yet-or-Not”, we have a practical and scrumptious use for those rinds you so flagrantly cast aside: WATERMELON PICKLES.
My mom says they should be called Watermelon Candy. But in the interest of maintaining the tradition of the grandfolks who have “passed on”, we will continue to call them pickles. Forever and ever.
Don’t mess with tradition. Unless you don’t have the right ingredients. Then it’s a free-for-all.
I suppose a 4-day-long recipe is not for the faint of heart. But it’s sooo worth it. And kids looove the process: going back every day to see progress, the science of canning, yadda yadda…
(from the kitchen of Grandpa Bud and Grandma Bette — or at least they were the first generation to actually write the recipe down!)
Yield: 8 pints
Collect watermelon rinds until you have as much as a full watermelon will provide.
Night before: Pare extra red part away from rind (leave a narrow strip for color) and pare the hard, green outside part away. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Soak in salt water overnight.
Next day: Rinse in clear water, then boil in clear water until pieces are translucent. Drain. Pour hot syrup (see below) over hot rinds. Let sit.
2nd and 3rd days: Drain syrup off rinds into saucepan; heat to boiling; pour over rinds; let sit.
4th day: Add 2 small jars of maraschino cherries. Bring syrup, cherries, melon rinds to a boil. Pour into sterile jars and seal. (If you sterilize jars in dishwasher, pour pickles into jars when they are still hot from the dishwasher, then put hot lids on and they will seal [boil lids and rings in water to sterilize].)
Note from LB: After much research, I’m convinced it’s safer to put these into a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Better to be safe than sorry!
1 pint cider vinegar
7 cups sugar
1/2 tsp clove oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon oil
Heat to boiling before pouring over rinds.