Watermelon Pickles

Watermelon Pickles

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I first tasted Watermelon Pickles at one of my Mother’s  elegant dinner parties. I was a child fascinated by what the cook was creating. She placed a circle of watermelon rind on a round piece of bread and topped it with goat cheese. It was amazing! It was only as an adult that I learned that Watermelon Pickles were not created in France in fancy jars; but were, in fact, both a staple of the American South and Russian and Eastern European immigrants. It was an efficient way of preserving food and eating healthy. Fermented food is good for stomach health. It also never occurred to me that those unusual and delicious pickles could be made in a home kitchen!

The flavor of those Watermelon Pickles had been haunting me. I spent quite a bit of time peeling baby watermelons and pickling their rind. The flavor of the pickles change depending on the vinegar or combination of vinegars you use. Apple cider vinegar mixed with white vinegar produces a more acidic flavor than rice vinegar mixed with white vinegar. I’m not really interested in the official jarring and sterilization process for the pickles. I’m more into the refrigerator method for pickling. The latter gives the pickles about a 10 day shelf life. If you use a small watermelon, you get a generous four cups of pickled rind- enough for a summer crowd.

Serve “as is” or for a dairy treat: Baked Brie with Watermelon Pickles and for a meat treat: Watermelon Pickles Wrapped in Pastrami

Note: I read about this refrigerator pickling method on a site called Kitchen Riffs.

Prep: about 15-20 minutes from peeling to the refrigerator

Watermelon Pickles

By Gloria Kobrin Published: May 10, 2017

  • Yield:

  • 4+ cups


  • 1 small watermelon 1 1/2 + pounds peeled and overflowing 4 cup container
  • 1 1/2 cups rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 three inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spices wrapped in cheesecloth


  • large cutting board
  • 3 quart saucepaan
  • 1 quart plastic container


  1. Cut the watermelon in quarters with a large sharp knife. Using the same knife or a smaller one, remove the pink flesh of the melon. Be sure to leave about 1/8th inch of pink attached to the white of the melon. Next, slide the knife between the green rind of the watermelon and the white part. Discard the green rind.
  2. Your next task is to decide how you want to cut the rind. You can cut long strips like deli pickles or you can cut them into easy to eat pieces-about one inch square. Set aside.
  3. Combine all ingredients (except for rind) in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir every few minutes to be sure sugar and salt dissolve. Carefully, add cut rind to the boiling liquid. Return liquid to a boil and simmer rind for two minutes. Remove from heat. Let rind and cooking liquid cool in saucepan for at least an hour. Pour everything into a plastic container and chill overnight. Serve cold.