Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Rind Pickles
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Not much was wasted in the summer kitchens of my childhood. When sugar was available, even the rind of watermelon became fodder for the good cook's table. With a bit of effort and a handful of spices, it was transformed into sweet and spicy pickles that, once tasted, would not be forgotten. This week, in a fit of what Bob calls a green attack, I decided to use the rind for pickles rather than add it to compost heap. Processed pickles are fine, but because I prefer the crispness of refrigerated pickles, I decided to use a tried and true recipe from Bon Appetite magazine. I was pleased enough with the results that I thought you might like the recipe. The pickles are easy to make but you'll need to start them three days before you plan to use them. I usually serve them as a condiment, but they are also delicious wrapped in bacon and served as hors d'oeuvre. Here's the recipe.
Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Rind Pickles...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1 4-pound piece watermelon, quartered
8 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
8 whole cloves
8 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1) Cut watermelon pulp from rind, leaving thin layer of pink on rind (reserve pulp for another use). Cut green outer skin from rind; discard. Cut enough rind into 1 x 1/2-inch pieces to measure 4 cups. Combine 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt in large pot; bring to boil. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain. Transfer rinds to large metal bowl.
2) Combine remaining 2 teaspoons salt, sugar, vinegar, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, pickling spice, allspice and ginger in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over watermelon rinds in bowl. Place plate atop rinds to keep rinds submerged in pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
3) Strain liquid from rinds into saucepan; bring to boil. Pour over rinds. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Repeat straining and boiling of liquid and pour over rinds 1 more time. Store in covered jars and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Refrigerate. Yield: 3-1/2 cups.
Recipe adapted fromn Bon Appetite Magazine.