Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Well, I sure hope that you saved your watermelon rinds from yesterday's recipe.

I told you I was going to start pickling, and I wasn't lying.  I figured I had two ways to go with my pickling experiment.  The first would be to make something simple, and that I know what it should taste like.  For example, a pickle.  That way, if it tasted wrong, I would know that I had done something wrong.  The negative of this is, if it tasted wrong, I could get discouraged and never pickle again.

On the other hand, I thought, I could just make something completely off the wall and outrageous, and then I couldn't get discouraged because I wouldn't know for sure I had done something wrong.  For example, pickled watermelon rind.  Maybe I just don't like the way pickled watermelon rind tastes.  It's not my fault!  The negative of this, of course, is if it is bad I'm not really giving myself the opportunity to learn and grow... Who needs to learn and grow!  I want pickled watermelon rinds!

Surprisingly, I thought this was really good.  I'm not sure if it was "right," because I've never had a pickled watermelon rind, and I would love some feedback from anyone who has had one.  These don't taste or look anything like watermelon, which I guess I found surprising.  Based on the recipes I found, you are cutting all the watermelony flavored parts off, so I'm not sure why it would taste like watermelon.  I also really would like the final product to be pink.  These were kind of a golden, ambery color at the end - which is pretty, but again not at all watermelon like.  I wonder if I used a red wine vinegar instead of white if it would make any difference.  This, I think, should give me the color I'm looking for.  A quick goolgle search seems to show that vinegar is vinegar, and you'll be safe as long as it has more than a 4% acidity.  Don't take my word on that one, though, I'm new at this.

Another change that I will make in the future is to cut these a good deal smaller.  The recipe calls for 1 inch by two inches, but that leaves you having to hold the rind and bite into it.  These are sticky, and I would like to see something that I can stab with a toothpick and pop right into my mouth - no fingers necessary. 

Watermelon rind slices.  Should be smaller!
The recipe below is modified from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, as well as a few other sources.  The one thing I read on the reviews for the original recipe is that it was way too sweet.  The original recipe called for 9 cups sugar.  I dropped it down to 5, based on a reviewer's suggestion.  It was still pretty sweet.  It also tasted very Christmas-y, because of all the cloves.  That's not a bad thing, just not exactly what I was expecting...

No where could I find how much this was supposed to yield.  I used half pint jars, and I ended up filling 9.  My guess is I should have gotten 5 pints, and I just packed them a little too tight.

I also would like to point out that this recipe takes 3 days.  I point that out OUTSIDE of the recipe as a service to you - since I am notorious for not reading my recipes until I have started them, and getting really pissed off when they take a lot longer than I think they should. 

My favorite part of pickling so far is pulling the jars out of the boiling water and listening to the lids "plink" as they seal.  SO rewarding.  I made Jeff come in and listen, but I don't think he was as impressed as I was.

2 quarts watermelon rind (equal to one medium-sized melon)
3/4 cup salt
3 quarts water
5 cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon (about 48) whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Allspice
1 lemon, thinly sliced, with seeds removed

Trim the pink flesh and the green outer skin from the rind. Cut into small strips, about 1" x 2" (Or even smaller). Cover with brine made by combining 3 quarts water and 3/4 cup salt. Refrigerate for five hours or overnight.
Watermelon after brining

Drain; rinse.  

Cover the watermelon with water and bring to a boil; continue cooking until fork-tender, about another 15 minutes. (Overcooking will cause the rinds to become rubbery.) Drain.
Combine sugar, vinegar, water and spice. Boil 5 minutes and then pour over watermelon; add lemon slices. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling; reduce heat to medium-high and for one hour. Pack the hot watermelon pickles loosely into clean, hot pint jars.Cover with boiling syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal lids.

To seal: Submerge the full jars in boiling water (enough water so the jars are 1-2" below the surface); boil for 15 minutes (or slightly longer at higher altitudes). Remove jars and let them sit undisturbed at room temperature for 24 hours. Check seals.

No comments:

Post a Comment