Letting Life Lead
I have never had pickled watermelon rind, but this afternoon I was loathe to toss rinds from a delicious hunk of fruit. I know the rinds are edible, but not exactly high on the yum scale. I asked my friend Dr. Google and she said normally it can take days to prepare and can them, but there is a way to get a quick vinegar based pickle that takes minutes to prepare and ready in as little as a couple of hours.
You need vinegar (rice wine vinegar recommended), sugar, salt, water, star anise, and ginger. There are substitute suggestions if you don’t have star anise or ginger. For this method it is okay to have some red flesh on, but peeling the skin is recommended to avoid the bitterness. This is not a lacto fermentation pickle, so it is quick but with a vinegar profile. I am a fan of quick pickles for instant gratification, but a proper pickle method has its merits.
Prep: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour cooling, and overnight chill.
Servings: 1 quart
Storage time: about a week and a half.
Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, star anise, and ginger (or powdered cinnamon) in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve. Add the watermelon rind. Return to boil; simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool for one hour. Transfer watermelon rind and liquid to a 1-quart plastic container or canning jar. Can be eaten sooner, but chill overnight for best results.
Flavor profile options: garlic, mint, cloves, mustard seed, hot green chilies, cayenne pepper, candied ginger, and allspice.
Patience is required for the mixture to chill. The flavor is delightfully tart but sweet with a glorious, surprising crunch. At first my taste buds were confused, but then I had a hard time stopping myself from eating the whole lot!
What say you? Yay or nay?
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Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.
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