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How to Make Homemade Pickled Watermelon Rinds - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
How to Make Homemade Canned Pickled Watermelon Rinds
You think making and canning your own pickled watermelon rinds is difficult or expensive? Not at all! You can do it with basic equipment already in your kitchen - you just need a canning pot. And thanks to the vinegar in pickled watermelon rinds, you can use a plain open water bath pot (or a pressure canner, without the weight on)
So, here's how to can pickled watermelon rinds! The directions are complete with instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. In the winter when you open a jar, the pickled watermelon rinds will taste MUCH better than any store-bought Canned Pickled Watermelon Rinds!
The recipe is easy, but the you'll need to 2 days in total, as the rinds need to soak in brine for 3 to 4 hours, then are quickly cooked (10 minutes), then must rest in the fridge over night.
Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of about 12 months, and aside from storing in a cool, dark place, require no special attention.
Directions for Making Canned Pickled Watermelon Rinds
Yield: About 4 or 5 pints.
- 3 quarts (about 6 pounds) watermelon rind, unpared
- ¾ cup salt
- 3 quarts water
- 2 quarts (2 trays) ice cubes
- 9 cups sugar (Yes, you may substitute Stevia or Splenda if that is your need or preference)
- 3 cups 5% vinegar, white
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon (about 48) whole cloves
- 6 cinnamon sticks, 1 inch pieces
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced, with seeds removed
- At least 1 large pot
- Large spoons and ladles
- Ball jars (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - about $7 per dozen pint jars including the lids and rings)
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
- Jar funnel ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
- 1 Water Bath Canner OR a pressure Canner (a large pressure pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars after filling about $75 to $200 at mall kitchen stores and "big box" stores, but it is cheaper online; see this page for more about pressure canners).
Watermelon Rind Pickles Recipe and Directions
Step 1 -Wash the watermelon!
I'm sure you can figure out how to scrub the watermelon in plain cold or lukewarm water using your hands or a vegetable brush.
Step 2 - Make the brine solution
Make the brine by mixing the ¾ cup salt with 3 quarts cold water. Stir well.
Step 3 - Prepare the watermelon
Trim the pink flesh and outer green skin from thick watermelon rind. Cut into 1 inch squares or fancy shapes as desired. You only want the white portion. Of course, you can give the red parts to your kids to eat while you're cooking!
Step 4 - Brine the watermelon rind
with the brine solution from step 3. Add the 2 trays (2 quarts worth) of
Let stand 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
Step 5 - Prepare the seasoning mix
- 1 tablespoon (about 48) whole cloves
- 6 cinnamon sticks, 1 inch pieces
tied in a clean, thin, white cloth. I use a baby's ice lollipop bag (available at mall kitchen stores, Target and other local "big box" stores) as it is reusable and easy to use (see the photo).
Step 6 - Drain and rinse
After the 3 to 4 hours has elapsed, drain and then rinse in cold water and drain again.
Step 7 - Cook the watermelon rind
Cover the watermelon rind with cold water and cook until almost fork tender, about 10 minutes (do not overcook). Halfway through (after 5 minutes), add the sliced lemon.
Step 8 - Cook the seasoned syrup mix
While the watermelon rind is cooking, combine
- 9 cups sugar
- 3 cups 5% vinegar, white
- 3 cups water
and the seasoning mix bag from step 6 in a large pot and boil for 5 minutes.
Step 9 - Drain the watermelon rind and add to the seasoned syrup.
Drain the watermelon rind and add to the seasoned syrup solution from step 9 (remove the syrup from heat).
Step 10 - Chill overnight
Add the lemon slices. Let the watermelon rind and seasoned syrup stand overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 11 - Prepare the jars and canner
Wash the jars and lids
This is a good time to get the jars ready! The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.
Get the canner heating up
Rinse out your canner, put the rack in the bottom, and fill it with hot tap water. (Of course, follow the instruction that came with the canner, if they are different). Put it on the stove over low heat just to get it heating up for later on.
Step 12 - Heat and prepare to can!
Heat the watermelon rind in syrup by bringing it to a boil. As soon as a boil is reached, turn down the heat to cook slowly for 1 hour.
Step 13 - Packing the watermelon rind in the canning jars
This is called "hot packing"! Fill the jars loosely, but be sure to leave ½-inch of space at the TOP of the jar. That is called "headspace" and is needed for expansion during heating in the water bath. To each jar add 1 piece of stick cinnamon from spice bag;
Step 14 - Pour boiling cooking liquid into each packed jar
Use a ladle or pyrex measuring cup to carefully fill each packed jar with the hot syrup solution, again allowing ½-inch headspace. The watermelon rind should be covered and there should still be 1/2 inch of airspace left in the top of each jar. Be careful not to burn yourself, (or anyone else - children should be kept back during this step!)
Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.
Step 15 - Put the lids and rings on
Put the lids on each jar and seal them by putting a ring on and screwing it down snugly (but not with all your might, just "snug").
Step 16 - Put the jars in the canner and the lid on the canner
Using the jar tongs, put the jars on the rack in the canner. Make sure the tops of the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water.
Step 17 - Process for 10 minutes*
The chart below will help you determine the right processing time and pressure, if you have a different type of canner, or are above sea level. For most people, using a plain open water bath canner, the time will be 10 minutes.
Process according to the recommendations below. Let cool, undisturbed, 12-24 hours and check for seals.
Recommended process time for Watermelon Rind Pickles in a boiling-water (open, non-pressurized) canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack
0 - 1,000 ft
1,001 - 6,000 ft
Above 6,000 ft
Step 18 - Remove the jars
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel, without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight), here they won't be bumped. You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok. You're done!
From left to right:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it safe to can watermelon rind in a traditional water bath? If so how long do you do process them?
A. The answer, unless you pickle it as shown in the recipe above, is no. Quoting from the Ohio State University Extension's Fact Sheet:
"Pressure canning is the only safe method for home canning vegetables. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning in low-acid foods, such as vegetables. The bacterial spores are destroyed only when the vegetables are processed in a pressure canner at 240 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for the correct amount of time.
Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium commonly found in vegetables and meats. It is harmless until it finds itself in a moist, low-acid, oxygen-free environment or a partial vacuum. Under these conditions, the bacterium can grow and produce toxins dangerous to people and animals.
Do not process (low acid) vegetables using the boiling water bath because the botulinum bacteria can survive that method.
Can fruits and vegetables be canned without heating if aspirin is used? No. Aspirin should not be used in canning. It cannot be relied on to prevent spoilage or to give satisfactory products. Adequate heat treatment is the only safe procedure.
Is it safe to can watermelon in a boiling water bath if vinegar is used? No. Recommended processing methods must be used to assure safety. Recommended processing times cannot be shortened if vinegar is used in canning fresh vegetables. (This does not refer to pickled vegetables.)
Salt and sugar are not preservatives for vegetables: they are added to stabilize and improve flavor, but will not prevent spoilage.
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!
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This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see
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