Monday, August 30, 2010

Heritage Week - Watermelon Pickles

Yes, Readers, that pot of boiling stickiness will soon become Watermelon Pickles.

When I was growing up, my brother and I would spend a couple of weeks with many of our relatives.  One of the things I remember my Grandma McNemar making is Watermelon Pickles.  I've been trying to find a good recipe for them ever since.  When I asked Grandma for her recipe she looked at me with a blank look, as though she didn't remember ever making Watermelon Pickles.  Everytime I looked at recipes they seemed wrong.  So many of them called for cinnamon and cloves.  For my Grandma, these are some pretty exotic spices -- especially with pickles.  So I would discount those and try others. They were NEVER correct.  Well, this year I tried this recipe from Southern Foods.

With a couple of modifications:


  • 2 pounds watermelon rind
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon broken stick cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 5 maraschino cherries, halved,optional


Trim the dark green and pink parts from watermelon rind. Cut rind in 1-inch cubes and measure 7 cups. Soak watermelon rind overnight in a mixture of the pickling salt and water. If it takes more to cover, use the same proportion salt to water. Drain and rinse watermelon rind. Cover rind with cold water in a large saucepan; cook just until tender. Meanwhile, in a 6 to 8-quart kettle or Dutch oven, combine sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, whole cloves, and 1 cup water. Simmer mixture 10 minutes, then strain. Add drained watermelon rind, lemon slices, and maraschino cherries, if using. Simmer the mixture until watermelon rind is translucent. Fill hot half-pint jars with watermelon rind and syrup mixture, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water

 I left off the cherries and I used a little bit of lemon juice but I skipped the thin slices.

 The most amazing thing happened when I was making these pickles.  As soon as I smelled the sauce cooking, I knew I had the correct ingredients and probably the correct recipe.  I make a lot of pickles (Bread and Butter, Dill, you name it) but this has a special smell.  For just a moment, I was transported to my Grandma's farm house in the summer.  I've tasted them.  I think I've finally worked this out.

Here is a picture of one of the jars.
That is what good Watermelon Pickles should look like.  While searching for recipes, I found a picture someone posted of their Watermelon Pickles, they were green.  The cook had added green food coloring.  It was just wrong, I tell you, just wrong.

Here is a picture of the mess I still need to clean-up.
Except for the two boxes in the front, all of those jars are full of yumminess.  I need to label all of the jars on the floor, which is part of the reason they haven't made it onto the shelves.  Nothing goes on the shelves until it has been labeled otherwise I end up in a terrible pickle (he he he).  Last year I forgot that rule and I was constantly trying to figure out which jars had plums and which strawberries and which had peach butter and which was pear or apple. 

I think I'll make another run down to the Farmer's Market next week to see if I can get a few more peaches, some more tomatoes (we go through a lot of tomatoes every year) and maybe some pears.  I've been wanting to buy more scuppernog or muscatine grapes but I just can't afford to buy them right now.  At $25 for a flat, I can get so many other treats for the same amount of money.

Anyone want to vote on what I should "put up" next?

No comments: