pickled watermelon rind

Watermelon rind pickles are an old-fashioned specialty, but they’re not the only way to enjoy this oft-wasted part of the fruit. However you prepare them, they’re a great way to use scraps in the name of fighting food waste—but they’re just plain tasty too.

The rind of a watermelon is also packed with nutrients, in case you needed another reason to stop tossing it away. And if you’re not into home preserving, not to worry; you can also eat the rinds raw, or cooked in curries and stir-fries.

Before you start, see our primer on picking the perfect watermelon, and the best way to cut a watermelon—plus how to use the actual fruit in watermelon recipes and watermelon drinks.

Then tackle the rind (which you can stash in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple days if you don’t want to deal with it right away).

Watermelon Rind Pickles

The classic Southern watermelon rind pickle is as good as ever, and there are plenty of ways to play with the seasoning: try adding ginger and celery seeds, or red pepper and star anise.

This recipe for a no-waste watermelon gazpacho is garnished with a stripped-down watermelon rind pickle, which you can also use for lots of other things, like summer cheese plates, salsa, or as part of a chopped salad:

Pickled Watermelon Rind

  • 1 cup sherry vinegar
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup watermelon rind, trimmed of green and pink parts, diced small
  1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the watermelon rind, take off the heat, and allow to cool in the liquid.

Other Watermelon Rind Recipes

In a discussion on the Chowhound community’s favorite ways to use melon rind, PandanExpress says her mother slices the inner rinds thinly (discard the green outer shell) and stir-fries them with garlic, salt, and soy sauce. “It ends up tasting like a pickled vegetable,” she says. “Delicious.” madkittybadkitty adds a bit of ground pork and cut-up shrimp to her stir-fried rinds.

madkittybadkitty also chops watermelon rinds and adds them to salsa, or shaves them and tosses them with either a mint and yogurt dressing or sesame noodles. Pei slices them paper-thin and marinates them in a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and water.

Watermelon Rind Kimchi

Kimchi is not necessarily synonymous with cabbage—it can be made with almost any fruit or vegetable, and watermelon scraps are no exception! Get the Watermelon Rind Kimchi recipe.

Watermelon Rind Curry

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• Watermelon rind and tamarind dry curry🍉🍲 • Who knew you could cook the outer shell of watermelons!? And that it tastes just like pumpkin! Wow.. another incredible tip I got from my wise and lovely grandmom. It’s true that they really do know the best! 🤗 • Had some millet and red rice dosa batter on hand so wanted to make a dry curry south indian style! Here’s how it goes: ➡️ First, soak a 1×1″ sized chunk of tamarind in 5 tbsp of warm water and let it rest for at least ten min. ➡️ Dice the outer rind of the watermelon (with the peel and all – but that depends on your preference), and temper some mustard seeds, curry leaves, methi seeds (fenugreek), dried red chilli, and onion in a tsp of oil before adding in the watermelon. Mix. ➡️ Next, squeeze out the tamarind, discard it, and add the tamarind water to the pan, and mix well so the watermelon soaks it up. ➡️ Add salt, red chilli powder and turmeric, mix well, cover and let it cook on medium flame for 15-20 min. ➡️Since it might be a bit watery, add a tsp of rice flour and mix well. It will thicken. ➡️ In the end, temper some urad dal and sesame seeds in a tsp of oil, and add right in the end, along with fresh coriander. • Hope you love this! 😍 It’s incredible isn’t it, when you’re able to use every bit of a fruit or veggie. Nothing gets wasted. And each part of it has a different use! Absolutely incredible… I also want to share this little fun fact with you: Not only is watermelon rind loaded with fiber, but also contains a concentrated amino acid ‘citrulline’ which is a libido-booster ✨😄 • Hope you play around with this wonderful ingredient, and do share any tips or recipe ideas if you have any! 🙌🏼

A post shared by YUME | by samyukta kartik (@yume.culinary) on

Look online and you’ll find many versions of curried watermelon rind. Whichever one you go with, this Watermelon Rind Curry recipe comes with some good general advice: Rinds soak up flavor really well, so go easy on your spices to start.

Watermelon Rind Salad (or Watermelon Rind Slaw)

Watermelon is botanically related to cucumber, and the pale green part of the rind has the same crisp texture and mild flavor—which makes it great for eating raw. It goes well with various seasonings, including Thai ingredients in a papaya salad-esque preparation.

Watermelon Rind Juice

Reap the health benefits of watermelon rind by including it in nearly any fresh juice or smoothie recipe.

Watermelon Rind Chutney

Add this Watermelon Rind Chutney recipe to your arsenal of Indian condiments (and if you don’t have one of those yet, hop on it; they’re pretty much all delicious with roti, rice, and lots of other things from curries to simple roasted chicken).

Watermelon Rind Candy

Another way to preserve watermelon rind: Candy it! It’s still healthier than your average gumdrop, but scratches that same sweet itch. Get the Watermelon Rind Candy recipe.

Related Video: How to Cut a Watermelon & Why You Should Grill It

An earlier version of this story was posted by Caitlin McGrath in 2009.

Header image by Chowhound

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