Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind

After having just about filled up my
Compost Cab bin with watermelon rinds a few times this summer, I decided it was time to revisit a favorite old Gourmet recipe from years back and put that rind to good use.

Meet the pungent, sweet, tangy deliciousness that is this spicy pickled watermelon rind. I think it was the ginger that really hooked me the first time I made it. No surprise there. Have I mentioned I like ginger? And the rind turns the most beautiful color, like amber jewels with a glowing translucency.

This is a quick pickle — no need for jar sterilizing and all that. Just eat it up in a few weeks and keep it covered in the fridge. I like it as a condiment on a cheese plate, with seafood, and grilled pork or chicken. You could even mince it up finer and use as a relish on sandwiches.

Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind

adapted from Gourmet

1 medium to large watermelon
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
4-5 strips of lemon peel
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced red chile (Fresno, Thai or other)
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt

To prepare the rind, remove the the pink watermelon flesh completely for another use. Cut rind crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips and remove the green peel with a knife or Y-shaped vegetable peeler and discard. Cut the remaining white rind into 1/2-inch cubes.

In a large heavy saucepan, bring rind and remaining ingredients to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rind is tender and translucent and liquid is syrupy, 45 to 55 minutes.

Allow the pickled rind to cool uncovered, and then chill in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.