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.