Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles

Yum

When your farm friend, Nat Bradford, is bringing back his family's heirloom watermelon right in your backyard you do two things; one is go visit the farm to see and hear for yourself first-hand about it, and the second is you anxiously await the new harvest so you can buy one of these awesome watermelons for yourself.

Nat Bradford, me, and a gorgeous 30 lb Bradford Watermelon
The Bradford Watermelon has been grown in Sumter County, South Carolina for about 170 years and has a fascinating history. Read all about my first trip to the Bradford's farm.


Determined there would be no waste of this gorgeous watermelon, I decided to make Watermelon Rind Pickles. So sweet, yet tangy and soft, with a nice texture, they are not mushy at all, and are so delicious. Serve them on a cheeseboard with some shaved prosciutto or other thinly sliced deli meat, with a variety of cheeses and crackers. Yummmm!


RECIPE
Ingredients
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 white vinegar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon (about 48) whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks, 1 inch pieces
1 lemon, thinly sliced, with seeds removed

Method
This is a 2 day process 
Day One:
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.

Day Two:
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; discard lemon slices, and cover with boiling syrup, leaving ½ inch head-space.

Remove air bubbles and adjust head-space if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process half-pints or pint jars 10 minutes in a boiling water bath or steam canner.

Yield: 4-5 pints

Original recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation

Enjoy,
Mary

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