Easy Pickled Watermelon Rind

After visiting Maureen, Liz and Rebecca, we’ve had to leave the East Coast of Australia and head to the USA.  We’ve landed but I just don’t know where.

Easy Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Easy Pickled Watermelon Rinds

We’re visiting John from Kitchen Riffs and I know he used to work and live in Manhattan and I know he’s now semi-retired and has left New York, but I just don’t know where he ended up.

Watermelon rinds with a little bit of fruit

Watermelon rinds with a little bit of fruit

But it doesn’t really matter does it; we just know he’s at large in the USA.

Okay, if you need to find something out, all you need to do is a bit of searching.  We’re in St Louis, Missouri and I found that out by reading John’s About Page.

Just removed from the simmer

Just removed from the simmer

I don’t know how I stumbled across John’s blog but I’m very glad I did as everything he does is done expertly, especially the photography.  You can tell John takes a lot of care before he hits the ‘publish’ button.

Waste not want not

Waste not want not

There is a great variety and an enormous range of recipes on John’s blog including a very detailed cocktail section and every time you visit you know you’re in for something surprising like this Easy Pickled Watermelon Rind.  Every time I cut up a watermelon it’s amazing how much waste there is and how quickly it can fill my kitchen bin.  I always feel rather guilty throwing it out as it does seem very wasteful especially when you know you could have at least fed it to your chickens if you had a few running around the backyard.  Which I don’t.

Finding a recipe that actually uses these mostly discarded rinds is a great idea.  John says this recipe has been adapted from a David Chang recipe of Momofuku fame.  While other pickled watermelon rind recipes are lengthy drawn out processes, this version can be made in a couple of hours.  It also encourages not just the rind but also some of the pink fruit to be used which gives the pickle some colour.  However, in the pickling process the watermelon colours will become more dull, a bit like how a vibrantly green cucumber becomes more olive-toned when it becomes a gherkin.

Delicious with lamb or chicken

Delicious with lamb or chicken

Pickled watermelon rind can be eaten as a snack or as a side dish and goes well with barbecued or fried chicken.  As watermelons are now readily available in Oz, it’s a great time to be thinking about other options for the rind, rather than letting it fill up the kitchen bin.

And a word of warning – do be very careful when cutting the tough green skin off the watermelon.  I used a knife and cut not only the green skin but my very own thumb.  Quite unnecessary if you take a bit of care.

5.0 from 6 reviews
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Recipe type: Sundries
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Many
Easy PIckled Watermelon Rind
  • 1 quart or 1 kg watermelon rind (about half a small watermelon)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar (or any white vinegar)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2½ tspns table salt or 3¾ tspns sea salt
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 star anise
  1. Cut watermelon into 1 inch slices.
  2. Remove the fruit leaving ½ an inch on the rind.
  3. Carefully remove green skin with either a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife.
  4. Cut watermelon into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan combine sugar, vinegar, water, salt, ginger and star anise. Place over medium heat and stir. Bring to the boil.
  6. Add watermelon rind. Return to the boil then allow to simmer for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 hr.
  8. Transfer contents into a large pickling jar or similar container and place in fridge until completely cold.
  9. Pickle will be ready to eat in a couple of hours but leaving it overnight brings the best results.

If you would like to visit John you will find him here at Kitchen Riffs and you can also follow him on facebook.

Waste not want not

Waste not want not

Tomorrow we’re working with a known aphrodisiac.

Related Post


  1. Ouch! I hope your thumb is ok? I make a sweet Croatian watermelon preserve using the white of a watermelon and it is delicious (if very sweet!). So much goes to waste otherwise!

  2. I think of pickled watermelon rind as a quintessential American dish and am delighted to see your take on it. It looks so pretty, too!

  3. G’day! Gorgeous photo Charlie!
    Ouch with the finger too!
    I have sauteed watermelon rind in Asian dishes, but your looks very delicious and wish I could try it right now!
    Cheers! Joanne

  4. I imagine the origins of this recipe are rooted deep in the kitchen of a pioneer woman with a large family and a creative mind, not wanting to waste anything.

  5. sounds great but I just don’t know what vegetarian meal watermelon rind would work with – I can imagine it with bring a lovely summery ambiance to any meal

  6. Watermelon Rind Pickles–a Southern American staple, one that I haven’t thought of in years. Now I feel like I need to eat some today! And thanks for the link to John’s very interesting blog.

  7. My grandfather used to love pickled watermelon rind, and I don’t think I’ve had any in decades. This post and intriguing recipe reminded me of those days. I really do hate throwing out all the rind and maybe this would be something others in my family would enjoy. I can remember it had such a distinctive taste, one that I enjoyed, but didn’t exactly crave. Of course, I was a young, and this is probably more of an adult accompaniment. I wish I’d had this earlier in our summer…I filled a lot of bins with rind! But I’m going to bookmark this recipe and introduce myself to John, as well. ox

  8. What a terrific featured blog. I”m a huge fan of John’s, too. I remember having watermelon rind pickles at my in-laws and falling in love with them. They were from the farmers’ market, so I never got a recipe. I need to try these beauties!

  9. My grandmother always made watermelon rind pickles and I found them to be awfully sweet – maybe I need to give John’s recipe a try. Love his blog – and yours! [hope the thumb is ok!]

  10. I love John’s blog, and you are so right, he does everything perfectly. I’ve made his bbq sauce, which was quite excellent. This is quite interesting and I can see how well watermelon can take pickling. We’re winding down our melon season but I’ll keep it in mind for next year!

  11. I think this dish was invented by our frugal ancestors who didn’t want to waste anything. I’m glad to see it’s appreciated in our modern day. Well done, Charlie.

  12. SO glad you found John’s recipe Charlie! Your result looks very tasty. Love pickled everything but never had pickled watermelon before. Hope your thumb is fine 🙂

  13. My Namibian friend swears that watermelon rind is an aphrodisiac! I’ll definitely have to try this.

  14. Wish I had this recipe last week when I discarded quite a bit of watermelon rind, saving recipe for next summer.

  15. Wow Charlie… I must have missed this one on John’s blog… what a cracker of a recipe! Love it… thanks so much for sharing.

  16. Charlie! What a surprise! So nice of you to feature my blog. And you chose a fun recipe — I love pickled watermelon, and your pictures are great. Anyway, I’m humbled. Thanks.

  17. I have never had pickled watermelon rinds…they sure look and sound delicious…great way to use up the whole watermelon.
    Thanks for sharing John’s recipe Charlie!
    Have a wonderful week 😀

  18. Eek hope your thumb was ok. I have never heard of pickling watermelon rind but what a great idea to save waste. Thanks for introducing John!

  19. Definitely love the idea of not wasting any part of such a delicious fruit! I’ve read that the rind is actually very healthy for us! Thanks for featuring this wonderful recipe!

  20. I LOVE pickled watermelon rind but I love John’s blog even more. These photos are magical!

  21. I’ve never had pickled watermelon. Can’t wait to try this next summer! I bet the anise and ginger make it smell and taste fabulous.

  22. Ooo how different…. I would never have thought to pickle the rind, what a great way to use up all the ‘wastage’. Looking forward to having a crack this summer. 🙂

  23. I’ve always wondered about this since I read about it in a book on the life of pioneers and their subsistence living. I’ll definitely try it out next time we eat a watermelon, thanks!

  24. You’re so right about John taking a lot of care before he hits the ‘publish’ button. And my favorite part of his recipe is to read his note section. He writes in details and it has a lot of good information. I learned so much from his note section. Watermelon rind – I will have to remember or print out the recipe. I hate to see it goes waste knowing we can eat!! By the way, I love your first picture!!

  25. Love this idea. Definitely going to give this a whirl over summer!

  26. A great recipe from John’s wonderful blog! This is a great way to pickle watermelon rind and you certainly did it justice. Now I’m hungry for some pickled rind and I finished all of mine off a couple of weeks ago. Hope your thumb is o.k.

  27. Oh I love pickled watermelon rind. I use to enjoy it as a kid when my Great Aunts made it, but I have yet to attempt it myself. Can’t wait to try out this recipe!

  28. HI Charlie:)
    Just popping over from John’s delicious blog to see what’s cooking. Lookin good indeed! Not only the watermelon but your blog too. I must “snoop” around, lol…Thanks for sharing…

  29. How fun that you were able to meet fellow blogger friends! If you are ever in North Carolina, give me a ring! I do remember John’s recipe, and have wanted to make. Now I really need to make the recipe! Your recipe looks so delicious! Hugs, Terra

Speak Your Mind


Rate this recipe: