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.
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
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
- Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small pan and bring to a boil.
- 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.
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 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
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).
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