Recipes in this Post
In Act 5, Scene 1, of Shakespear’s The Tempest, King Alonso asks his jester, Trinculo, “How camest thou in this pickle?” And the drunk Trinculo – who has indeed gotten into trouble – responds “I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last …”
Well, I’m not in that sort of pickle. I made Watermelon Rind Pickles. Let me tell you, that was quite the journey.
Four great things about watermelons:
- The meat tastes great on a summer day. The redder the better, I say!
- The black seeds can be salted and baked in the oven for about 10 minutes to make something very similar to sunflower seeds, only you eat the whole thing. You cannot get the black seeds in a seedless watermelon, however, so you may have to go to an organic or farmer’s market to find them.
- The juice of the watermelon makes a fine drink when filtered through a very fine mesh. Pantyhose work very well for this, clean of course!
- The rinds make delicious pickles, so you can have watermelon with your roast pork in the winter time when summer is only a warm memory. The best rinds are from the larger melons, usually the ones with seeds, so if you want good pickles, you might want to get melon with seeds.
Now, on to our journey. Of course, Spane and I cannot eat watermelon fast enough without a lot of it going bad. So, I asked friends to save their rinds for me. Amber, whose children to go school with Spane, was nice enough to do this, and I put the rinds into Spane’s backpack. On the way home, we stopped at our favorite Armenian store, and the proprietor had just finished a half a watermelon (one of the small ones), and I asked her if I could have the rind. Luckily, there was an English-speaking woman there who explained what I wanted, and I was given that rind as well. When we got home, I put the rinds from the store into the refrigerator, completely forgetting about the ones Spane’s backpack! The next morning, when I went to put something in there, I found them, they were fine, so I put them in the refrigerator, too.
Sundays I have an appointment at 2pm. When I woke up, I thought it would be a good day to make pickles, but in order to do so, I needed mason jars. No problem, I thought, just go to Ralph’s and pick some up. I don’t have a car (I’ll post about that another time), so this meant a trip on the bus. When I got to Ralph’s, I discovered that they did not have them, and the manager told me “Well, they don’t sell very well, so we don’t carry them anymore.” Vons is close to me as well, so I thought I would call them and find out if they had them before I went there (again on the bus). It took 20 minutes to get someone from Starbucks to get a manager, who said that they did have them. I got on the next bus and went to Vons. I guess they don’t sell very well at Von’s either, because that manager said the same thing, albeit in a much more cavalier way. My friend’s husband works at Virgil’s Hardware and I knew they would have them. I called him and asked if he could pick me some up and drop them off on the way home. He said he would be happy to.
The kicker is, yesterday when I went to Barnes and Noble’s cooking section, they were featuring what kind of book? Canning books! Guess the people who want to can are going to have to go to their hardware store, or Amazon.
Monday was Memorial Day, so I got up and had a cooking frenzy! I had also had two espressos. First I made White Chocolate Cherry and Almond Cookies, then I made Brown Derby Salad Dressing, and finally, started making the pickles.
The night before, since I had my jars, I had peeled my watermelon peels, and put them in a brine solution in the refrigerator. Then in the morning, I drained them and boiled them in salted water until they were soft. Then I made the pickling solution, put the peels in, and boiled them until they turned clear. In the meantime, I had boiled the jars and rings in my pasta cooker, and they were sitting there, waiting for the pickles. When the pickles were ready, I removed the hot jars from the pot, filled them, put the seal and ring on, sealed them and put them back into the pasta pot. Then I put them on the boil, and boiled them until I heard popping noises, which indicated that they were indeed sealed. I let them cool in the pot, then took them out and put them on the counter. There they sit, lovely jewels, ready to be eaten.
- 1 Watermelon
- 1 quart Water
- 3 tablespoons Salt
- 2 cups Cider Vinegar
- 6 cups Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Cloves whole
- 3 Cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon Cinnamon ground
- 1 teaspoon Cloves ground
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg ground
- 1/2 teaspoon Mace ground
- After eating the watermelon, scoop out any remaining flesh and set it aside for your treat.
- Peel and cut watermelon rind. Rinse in water.
- Bring a quart of water and 1/2 cup of salt to a boil. Remove from the heat, and put in a large bowl with the rinds. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Drain rinds well. Boil for 10 minutes in another quart of water. Drain and set aside. Put spices into a tea ball. If you don't have a tea ball, clean pantyhose will work just fine.
- Bring a quart of water to the boil and add vinegar, sugar and spices. Boil until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add rind and cook for about 45 minutes or until the rind is clear. Remove spices. Put in quart mason jars, then pour liquid to about a half an inch from the top. Seal and process in a hot water bath for 30 minutes, or until you hear the jars pop.
- To process, first put the jars and rings in to a pot so they are not touching the bottom. A pasta pot with an insert works fine for this if you do not have a canner. Put water in the jars so they do not float around. Bring them to a boil, and let them sit in the hot water until you are ready to fill them. Remove them from the water, fill, and put back in the pot, in the same hot water. You will know when they are ready when you have heard all the jars “pop”. Remove from the heat, and let them sit in the water until they are cool enough to touch. You can store them at this point. They must be refrigerated once they are open. You may reuse the jar and ring, but not the seal.
Watermelon Rind pickles are particularly good with pork and chicken.
- 3 Beets
- 1/2 cup Watermelon Pickle Juice
- Remove the leaves from the beets, but leave the roots and an inch of stem. Put the beets in water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 25 minute or until the beets are tender. Remove from the water, and let cool until cool enough to handle. Use your hands to slip off the peel, and cut of the stem and roots. Slice the beets, then put them in a non-reactive bowl, and cover them with the left over watermelon pickle juice. Refrigerate until nicely chilled.
You can make this even easier if you have roasted beets on hand. Pickled beets will last in the refrigerator for quite some time.