Watermelon Rind Pickles

My grandmother used to make these and I’ve hunted and hunted for a recipe to come close to what she made.  I found several similar recipes on Pinterest and in the Ball canning book.  We will give it a try and doctor as needed the next go around.  This is a 2 day process and a lot of work for a little yield; but the smell of it cooking….wow!

The rinds will need to be cut and let soak over night with the salt and water the day before you process them.  The thicker the rinds, the better.

  • 4 qts of 1 inch cubed watermelon rinds, mostly green, some pink
  • 1 cup Canning Salt
  • 2 gallons of water, divided
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of whole allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seed
  • 7 cups of sugar
  • 1 thinly sliced medium lemon
  • 2 cups vinegar

Cover watermelon rinds with salt and 1 gallon of water, stirring to dissolve the salt and let soak 12 hrs or over night.   Drain; rinse.

Cover rind with 1 gallon of water in a large stockpot.  Cook until tender.   Drain; set aside. Tie spices in a spice bag.  When you can’t find a spice bag – make your own – coffee filters and a string work nicely.

Combine spice bag, sugar, lemon slices and vinegar in a large pot, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.


Combine sugar syrup mixture and rind, simmer until rind is transparent.  Don’t over cook, you’ll end up with a lot of liquid and a little bit of rinds, more of a preserve consistency than pickles.  Remove spice bag.  Pack hot rinds and liquid into hot jars leaving 1/2 in head space.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust 2 piece ring and lid.  Water bath for 10 minutes.


The watermelons that I used yielded 6 quarts of watermelon rinds so I adjusted my recipe to accommodate and it yielded 7 pints.  .

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