Day 42: Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon Rind Pickles
  
Day Forty-Two (01.07.2012)
Processing: Hot Water Bath Canner 10mins
Yield: 6 x half-pints (6 cups)


Yesterday I made watermelon jelly (recipe HERE) so last night I prepared the rind in the brine (it needs to rest overnight) then canned it today. I also made watermelon fruit leather (recipe HERE) using the leftover pulp from yesterday's jelly-making. The pickled rind is surprisingly tasty: it has a sweet syrupy exterior, and when you bite into it, a tangy burst of flavour from the brine-soaking hits your tastebuds. I don't think these jars will last very long!
  
STEP 1: Soaking the rind in brine overnight [EVENING BEFORE]
   
From your nine or ten pound watermelon, you should get between four and five pounds of rind. Cut into 1 inch slices, removing any pink watermelon flesh and any green (dark outer and light green just underneath the skin) rind sections. Cut into 1 inch squares and measure 9 cups. Place into a large non-metal container/bowl. I used a large Tupperware container.
  
Combine the 6 cups water and kosher salt together. Add to rind, the brine should cover the rind - if not make extra brine, keeping the proportion of water and salt the same. Cover and rest at room temperature overnight.
  
Step 2: Canning [NEXT DAY]
  
The next morning, rinse and drain the rind well, putting the drained rind into your pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil then simmer (covered) for 20 minutes or so, until rind is soft. Drain well and prepare syrup while pre-heating jars. Pre-heat jars by covering in water and boiling for 10 minutes, pre-heat seals and rings in simmering water for 10 minutes.
  
Combine the sugar, vinegar, water, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves in your pot. Simmer until sugar has dissolved then continue simmering for 10 minutes. Strain into a jug or bowl to remove the spices. Return syrup to pot with the rind. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then simmer (covered) for 25 minutes or so, until rind is transparent. Pack rind into hot half-pint jars to 1/2 inch (1cm) headspace. Ladle syrup into jars to the same headspace. Remove bubbles, adding extra syrup if necessary to correct headspace. Wipe rims, apply seals and twist bands on to fingertip-tight. Process in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove jars after 5 minutes to a teatowel-covered bench to rest overnight. The next day remove bands, label and store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. I made 4 half-pints of pickles following this recipe - I only had 6 cups of rind so did a batch using 2/3 of the ingredients listed below ...
  

Ingredients:

9 cups of trimmed watermelon rind, 1 inch squares (from 1 x 9 or 10 pound watermelon)
6 cups water

1/3 cup kosher salt
cold water
3 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar (minimum 5% acidity)
1 1/2 cups water
15 inches cinnamon sticks, broken into 2 inch pieces
2 teaspoons whole cloves
  

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