Pickled Watermelon Rind

Recipe 15 minPreparation Time 5 minCooking Time
Pickled Watermelon Rind

Pickled Watermelon Rind

15 minPreparation Time 5 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

Pickled watermelon rinds — I always wanted to love them. But I never took to their sometimes syrupy sweetness, or the fall spices (such as cinnamon and clove) in their sugary brine. I didn’t always like their soft, almost candied texture either. So instead of fully boiled rinds, these are simmered for just a few minutes, steeped with relatively low sugar, and infused with ginger, makrut lime leaf, and chile. Of note: It’s worth using a high-quality rice vinegar. And although this is a pickle that should sit for a couple of days before eating, the rinds are pretty enticing as soon as they’re doused with the aromatic brine.

The Benefits

Not only are you fighting food waste by using the watermelon’s rind, but also gaining health benefits. Fiber-rich, watermelon rind help get your gut in good shape by keeping you regular. Citrulline, an amino acid you’ll particularly find in the rind, is being explored for its ability to boost oxygen delivery to muscles, and might reduce blood pressure as well.


Makes 1 quart
  • 1/2 of a medium (about 9½ lb /4.3 kg) watermelon
  • 1 cup (240 ml) rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½-inch piece (10 g) of fresh ginger, cut into slices
  • 1 fresh red chile (such as Fresno or red jalapeno), cut into thin rings
  • 1 or 2 makrut lime leaves


  1. Step 1
    Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  2. Step 2
    Cut the fruit from the white watermelon rind — leaving about ½ inch of pink fruit is A-okay. Cut away all of the green peel. Then cut the watermelon rind into about 1 ½-inch cubes; you should have 1 lb (450 g) of watermelon rind.
  3. Step 3
    Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add the watermelon cubes; reduce the heat to medium-low and let them simmer just to take the edge off the rind’s opaqueness, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Strain the watermelon cubes in a strainer and dunk the strainer into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  4. Step 4
    In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, lime juice, sugar, salt, and ginger over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 2 minutes. Drop in the chile. Lightly crush the makrut lime leaf in the palm of your hand to release the fragrant oil and drop it in, too.
  5. Step 5
    Remove the watermelon rind from the ice bath and let strain any excess water. Transfer the cubes to a sterile 1-quart (1-L) Mason jar. Carefully pour the vinegar mixture over the watermelon cubes so that they’re covered completely, leaving a little head room. Let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator, covered, for 48 hours before eating. These will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Try It With: These are great for straight snacking, or slice them as a garnish for salads

Zero Waste: Zest the lime before juicing it and sprinkle it over the pink fruit of the watermelon. Toss the green watermelon peel into your compost.