Food, fruit, Recipes, Sweets

Watermelon Rind Preserves

While they are perfectly edible, watermelon rinds usually end up in the garbage. However, once the green layer is peeled, they can be used in numerous ways: they can be eaten fresh, as a crunchy snack, or added to salads; they can be cooked in stews and curries; they can also be pickled or cooked into tasty preserves, as in the recipe I have here.While cooking, the rinds change their color from whitish-opaque to clear orange, and develop a delicate flavor and aroma, that will both surprise and please anyone who tries them.
Serve this wonderful treat with fresh scones, place on top of thick yogurt, sprinkled with nuts, or in any other way you prefer, and enjoy.

* Many recipes for watermelon rind preserves require placing the rinds overnight in salty brine. They also contain an even larger amount of sugar than what I have here. While this helps keep the preserves longer, I prefer to skip this step, add less sugar, and keep the preserves in the fridge instead. However, if you plan to cook a bigger amount and to keep it longer, look for these recipes instead of this one.
* Many of these recipes also call for adding cut citrus fruits and different spices to the rinds. I find that it diminishes the delicate and unique flavor of the watermelon, so I prefer to add only lemon juice. Feel free to experiment and decide for yourself.
* Rinds may differ in their moisture, so you can increase the amount of water if you see that the rinds don’t soften enough before the syrup thickens.

Makes: 3 cups
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours

4 cups medium cubes prepared watermelon rinds (see step 1)
2 cups water (or more, see notes)
2 cups sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt

1. Once you’ve used the red flesh, cut the leftover rinds into cubes, about 1”X0.5” (2.5cmX1.5cm). With a sharp knife, remove the green part on one side, and any red flesh that is still on the other side.
2. Measure 4 cups of cubes and place in a deep medium pot. Cover with water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Strain and place back in the pot.

3. Add 2 cups of water, the sugar, lemon juice and salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 3 hours, mixing gently with a spatula occasionally, until the rinds change color to clear orange and the liquids reduced to a thick syrup.
* If the rinds don’t soften enough, before the syrup thickens, add a bit more water and cook until they do. The rinds should be sticky and chewy, but not crispy.
4. Once ready, Transfer to jars and seal. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating for up to two months.

77 thoughts on “Watermelon Rind Preserves”

  1. I do declarah! (sic) I haven’t even seen one of these delightful treats in decades! I remember making these – ONCE – when I lived in the southern part of the United States, but can barely remember the taste. Seems like it was fairly strong of some spice, though – cloves?

    They were called “pickles”, but they were not sour at all – almost sickeningly sweet.

    Sounds like a great project for Greg! We’ll be waiting for his report.

    Virtual hugs,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Judie, that’s very interesting.
      Quite a few of the recipes I’ve found – both for preserves and pickles – indeed called for the addition of spices in general and cloves in particular. I find it too overwhelming and prefer the “clean” version I have here. It has such a wonderful delicate flavor. Highly recommended! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re not particularly fond of watermelon, but it may be that I will succumb to a “personal-sized” melon as the summer wears on – if only to try your recipe. It would be a great walk down memory lane.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW!!! I’m thrilled with this recipe and can’t wait to try it. 😃 I’ve never heard of or tasted this and I’m so intrigued by the whole thing that I think I’ll get a water melon tomorrow. Thanks for such a cool recipe Ronit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Myra, I’m glad to hear!
      I’ve made the preserves years ago, but it was such a lengthy process I neglected to make it again. Now I’ve decided to simplify it, and it worked so well, that I’m sure I’ll be making it much more often. I hope you’ll enjoy it too. I’ll be happy to hear your comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I made preserves many, many years ago when I was growing my own watermelons. You’ve brought back some good memories of my early canning days. I just might have to make this again… I agree with less sugar and not adding additional ingredients and letting the watermelon shine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ralu, I’m glad you liked the recipe. I can’t take full credit on the idea, as it is a fairly old one, but I can say I’ve simplified it a bit, so it’s more user-friendly now. The preserves do have a subtle watermelon flavor and aroma, but it’s definitely not as strong as the fresh one. It’s very special and I highly recommend it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Huh?! This is a totally new concept to me! Using the rind in… anything at all, that is~! Good thing I have 2 melons sitting in the fridge (one of them destined to be turned into a second batch of your strawberry-watermelon popsickles, by the way 😀 ). so I can give this one a try tonight or tomorrow~ Thanks for the recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Diana, I’m very glad you liked the idea. I admit that most times I don’t bother to use the rinds, but this recipe is really worth the trouble. I hope you’ll enjoy it and the popsicles as well. I’ll be happy to hear your comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, I’ve never heard of watermelon rind preserves, and the more I read it, the more I’d love to try it. What a wonderful idea, and it definitely is great as the rind is re-cycled.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Chloe, I’m glad you liked the recipe. The transformation of the rinds from opaque-white to clear orange-reddish was indeed fascinating. The flavor and texture were also wonderful. Well worth trying! 🙂


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