Watermelon Rind Pickles

Crunchy, tangy-sweet watermelon rind pickles are the perfect foil for smoked meats.

INGREDIENTS:

One 5-pound watermelon
10 cups water
1/4 cup salt, divided
3 cups sugar
2 cups apple-cider vinegar
3 slices fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons pickling spice
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Four 1/2-pint canning jars

METHOD:

Cut watermelon flesh from rind, leaving a thin layer of pink on rind. Set aside flesh for another use. Using a sharp knife, cut off green outer skin; discard. Cut rind into 1/2-inch-wide strips; Cut strips into 3/4-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over high heat.

Add rind and 3 tablespoons salt to the pot of boiling water. Boil until rind starts to soften, about 4 minutes; drain.

In a large saucepan, mix remaining salt, sugar, vinegar, ginger root, pickling spice, allspice, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Add rind to the saucepan. Place a lid for a smaller saucepan over rind to immerse rind completely in liquid; cover the saucepan and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, divide the watermelon rind evenly among four 1/2-pint canning jars. Continue simmering liquid in the saucepan until syrupy, about 20 minutes; let cool completely.

Pour cooking liquid evenly among the 4 jars; refrigerate overnight. Store watermelon pickles in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

SOURCE: Unknown–old family recipe probably from Georgia.

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