PICKLED WATERMELON RIND
The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook
by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Portuguese traders took watermelons from Africa to Europe before the first English voyages to the New World. Early settlers carried watermelon seeds across the Atlantic. The fruit was growing in Virginia gardens by 1615.
Whether whole or ground, cloves have been an important ingredient since ancient times. whole cloves are a common pickling spice in american cookery and are also used in mulled cider and wine. ground cloves appear in dishes that range from stews to sweets.
Makes 4 Pints
• 1 large watermelon
• 1/2 cup salt
• 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 tablespoon whole cloves
• 1 tablespoon allspice
• 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
• 4 (1-inch) pieces fresh ginger
Cut the rind from the watermelon, reserving the flesh for another use. Trim off the green skin and cut the rind into 1-inch pieces. (There should be about 8 cups trimmed rind.)
In a large pot, place the rind and pour in enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then drain at once. Rinse under cold running water and return the rinsed rind to the pot. Repeat this procedure and transfer to a large bowl.
Mix the salt with 6 cups cold water and stir until dissolved. Pour over the rind and let stand for 6-8 hours. Drain in a colander and rinse well under cold running water.
In a large nonreactive saucepan or preserving pan, combine the vinegar and sugar. Pour in 1 cup cold water and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Tie the cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger in a square of cheesecloth. Add to the vinegar mixture and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Add the watermelon rind, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rind is clear and the syrup is thickened, 45 minutes-1 hour. Remove and discard the bag of spices.
Pack the rind in preserving jars and seal while hot. Cool to room temperature. Store in a dark cool place for 2-3 weeks before serving.