When do you go at red and stop at green?
When you’re eating a watermelon.
Although that is a clever joke it is not necessarily true. There are myriad things you can do with watermelon rinds to boost its flavor instead of throwing it away in the trash or compost bin. You will not only be frugal by saving the rinds for consumption, but you will also be adding some healthy variety to your diet. Watermelons are full of citrulline, an amino acid that relaxes and dilates blood vessels as well as reduces muscle soreness. This amino acid is found even more so in the rind! So here are some delicious recipes that you can use for your watermelon scraps.
Pickled Watermelon Rind
- 4 pounds watermelon
- 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced, seeds removed if desired
- 1 1″ piece peeled ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 star anise pods
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
Using a vegetable peeler, remove tough green rind from watermelon; discard.
Slice watermelon 1″ thick. Cut away all but ¼” flesh from each slice; reserve flesh for another use. Cut rind into 1″ pieces. (You should have about 4 cups.)
Bring chile, ginger, star anise, salt, peppercorns, sugar, vinegar, and ½ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Add watermelon rind and return to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, setting a small lid or plate directly on top of rind to keep submerged in brine, if needed.
Transfer rind and liquid to an airtight container; cover and chill at least 12 hours.
Do Ahead: Watermelon rind can be pickled 2 weeks ahead. Keep chilled.
Candied Watermelon Rind
- 1/4 medium watermelon, washed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp. powder sugar
- Cut the watermelon into wedges, remove the flesh and eat it or set aside.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the green outer skin. Cut white part of rinds into chunks.
- Put rinds into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- A pink-orange foam can float to the surface, discard it. Drain and rinse the rinds.
- Combine sugar and water, let dissolve, add rinds, bring to boil, cook 15 minutes, turn heat off and let rinds stay in syrup, covered with kitchen towel, about 8-10 hours.
- Bring to boil again, cook 15 minutes, turn heat off and let rinds stay another 8-10 hours. And do it again one more time but add lemon juice and vanilla extract and cook 15 minutes, drain the rinds from the syrup (reserve the syrup for other uses if you want or store candied rinds in syrup). OR just simmer rinds in syrup 45 minutes. Cooking with long intervals will not let fruits seethe, but make them transparent.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment, and sprinkle powder sugar over the parchment. Add candied rinds into pan, so they do not touch each other and let dry day or two. Low-heated oven or dehydrator can help use too.
Watermelon Rind Preserves
- 16 cups watermelon rind
- 5 cups sugar
- 1 lemon slice
- 1 lemon, juice and zest of
- 1⁄2teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄2teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
- Trim green peel and red flesh from watermelon. Cut rind into small cubes (14-16 cups).
- Place cubed rind into stainless steel pot (Dutch oven size) and add one part sugar to two parts rind (I use little less sugar in my recipe). Let sit until sugar dissolves, a couple or hours or overnight (preferably overnight). Rind and sugar should have made its own liquid.
- Start cooking on medium, checking and stirring until it starts to boil, about 20-30 minutes.
- Add thinly sliced lemon, juice and zest of the other lemon. Stir in ground or whole spices of your choice.
- Turn down heat to low and cook on low heat until rinds are translucent, checking and stirring often (don’t want the sugar to burn). (Approximately 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours more or less, until rinds are translucent).
- If using red food coloring, add a few drops to desired color at this point, stir well.
- Seal in prepared jars, clean jars, lids and rings placed in boiling water until ready to fill. Approximately (8) 1/2 pint jars, (16) 1/4 pint jars, or (4) pint jars.
- Immediately after filling jars I like to turn them upside down for 5-10 minutes, supposedly to help them seal.
- Optional instead of ground spices add with lemons:
- Cinnamon sticks (eight short pieces, 1 for each jar).
- Whole cloves (16-32 cloves, 2-4 for each jar).
- Grated fresh ginger (1 tablespoon).
- Red food coloring (optional).
Watermelon Rind Curry
- 4 cups watermelon rind, tough green skin removed and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons Grassfed Organic Ghee
- ½ teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger, minced
- ½ serrano pepper, seeds removed, minced
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon Amchur (Dried Mango) Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri Chili Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- ½ teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala
- Melt ghee in a pan on medium heat.
- Add cumin seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add the ginger, garlic and serrano pepper.
- After a minute, add the paprika, coriander powder, amchur, kashmiri chili, turmeric, and salt.
- Add the watermelon rind and water and mix well.
- Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring at the halfway mark.
- Once the rind is soft and most of the water is absorbed, remove the lid and add the garam masala.
- Mix well and cook for another couple minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve.
Thai Stir-fried Watermelon Rind with Salted Pork
- 2 tablespoons cured salted pork or sliced becon
- 1 teaspoon canola oil, optional
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and coarsely minced
- 1 cup melon rind, skin removed and sliced into 1/3 inch width and 2 inch length–please see slide show
- 2 tablespoons chives, for garnish
- Heat a wok on medium-high heat, and stir in salted pork or bacon.
- Saute them until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove excess fat to allow only 1 teaspoon on the bottom of the wok. If no fat can be rendered, then add 1 teaspoon canola oil.
- Saute in garlic until yellow. Stir in sliced watermelon rind and cook for 1 minute, the aroma of garlic, bacon and melon like should develop before adding 1 tablespoon water.
- Cook for one more minute and make sure to have about 1 or 2 tablespoon sauce, otherwise add more water.
- Stir in chives and serve right away. Or use chive for garnish.
- Serve with warm jasmine rice.