Originally posted by Jess – September 17, 2015
The melons are coming! The melons are coming! With the bounty (some would call it an onslaught) of 5 melons this week, one could be easily overwhelmed, not just with the fruit, but the sheer amount of compost created by the rinds. Perhaps there is something that we can do to enjoy the rinds, too? This is CSA365, of course!
I am working from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, a helpful guide for many standard and unique jams, jellies, and full canned meals. This is more of a walk through my experience making this recipe, rather than an adaptation. Let’s take a closer look!
Similar to making sauerkraut, you start with a non-reactive crock or stainless steel pan and salt your layers of rinds, about 1 tablespoon of pickling or canning salt per cup of rinds. (Please ignore the green in my photos and PEEL YOUR WATERMELON RIND BEFORE THIS STEP! I forgot to do so and peeled every one of these way later in the recipe. It does make a difference in the taste to leave the peel on, and not in a pleasant way, rather bitter and vegetal.)
Next, you place a plate into your bowl slightly smaller than the bowl and weigh it down by placing a heavy glass jar or two on top of the plate. Refrigerate for about 8 hours or overnight (again, ignore the peel on the rind, that should not be there). After this, rinse and drain twice. Boil the rinds in a stainless steel saucepan for 10 minutes or “until fork tender” as the folks over at Ball recommend.
The brine is made of 4 cups vinegar and 6 cups sugar, with 3 cinnamon sticks broken in half. This boils (again in stainless steel) for 5 minutes before the rind is added.
Cook in the brine for about an hour until the rind is translucent. (This is finally when I realized there should be no peel and peeled each piece, jarring them in a new batch of brine.) The rind yellows a bit at this part.
Behold the pickled rind. It is a taste sensation! Very much like a sweet pickle and the cinnamon add a nice touch. These would be great next to a rack of Springdell ribs! I’ll be making these again, without the peel next time.