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How do I? ...Fruit Pickles

Preparing and Canning Pickled Fruits

Watermelon Rind Pickles

  • 3 quarts (about 6 pounds) watermelon rind, unpared
  • ¾ cup salt
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 quarts (2 trays) ice cubes
  • 9 cups sugar
  • 3 cups 5% vinegar, white
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon (about 48) whole cloves
  • 6 cinnamon sticks, 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, with seeds removed

Yield: About 4 or 5 pints.

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure - Trim the pink flesh and outer green skin from thick watermelon rind. Cut into 1 inch squares or fancy shapes as desired. Cover with brine made by mixing the salt with 3 quarts cold water. Add ice cubes. Let stand 3 to 4 hours.

Drain; rinse in cold water. Cover with cold water and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes (do not overcook). Drain.

Combine sugar, vinegar, water, and spices (tied in a clean, thin, white cloth). Boil 5 minutes and pour over the watermelon; add lemon slices. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling and cook slowly 1 hour. Pack hot pickles loosely into clean, hot pint jars. To each jar add 1 piece of stick cinnamon from spice bag; cover with boiling syrup, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.

Process according to the recommendations in Table 1. Let cool, undisturbed, 12-24 hours and check for seals.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Watermelon Rind Pickles in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 10 min 15 20


This document was extracted from "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.

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