A Fun-Loving Guide to the Natural World for Kids and Adults

Cooking with Watermelon Rind

Kenton and I picked the first watermelon from our garden yesterday, and sat down to enjoy its crisp sweetness.  Nothing like eating your own fresh melons!  When we sat back, both of us full with the red delight, Kenton suddenly said, “Hey, can’t we make watermelon rind pickles out of this?”  He proceeded to tell me of one of his favorite childhood treats — pickled watermelon rind — which I had never tried before.  Stepping over to the computer room, we looked up watermelon rind pickles on Google, and came across a site that brought back memories of Forrest Gump talking to his friend the shrimp-catcher.  There were recipes for watermelon rind pickles, watermelon rind salad, watermelon rind curry, watermelon rind dosas, watermelon rind sherbert, watermelon rind wine, watermelon rind jelly, tequila soaked watermelon rind . . . and the list went on.

Instead of getting all fancy, though, we just cut up some watermelon rind and plopped it into the hot-sour soup we were making for lunch.  The result?

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but it was delicious!  The rind took on a soft jade color — quite beautiful, and had a subtle, sweet flavor.  Its most remarkable property was that it had a pleasant crunch while still being very juicy. (Though I suppose the crunch might be destroyed with too much cooking.)

We’re definitely adding this to our cooking repertoire.  It’s going to be especially fun to try it out on friends, who surely won’t recognize the ‘exotic’ fruit we’re using in our stir-fries, soups, and other dishes.  If you’ve never tried it, give it a shot!  You simply eat the fruit, use a potato peeler to peel the green skin away, and chop it up into whatever size you’d like for your recipe.  Of course, if you want to become an aficionado, you can visit www.watermelonrind.com yourself and give some of the other recipes a try =)


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8 Responses to “Cooking with Watermelon Rind”

  1. K&R, I haven’t tried the pickles myself, but I do love the poem. Do you know it?

    Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity

    During that summer
    When unicorns were still possible;
    When the purpose of knees
    Was to be skinned;
    When shiny horse chestnuts
    (Hollowed out
    Fitted with straws
    Crammed with tobacco
    Stolen from butts
    In family ashtrays)
    Were puffed in green lizard silence
    While straddling thick branches
    Far above and away
    From the softening effects
    Of civilization;

    During that summer-
    Which may never have been at all;
    But which has become more real
    Than the one that was-
    Watermelons ruled.

    Thick imperial slices
    Melting frigidly on sun-parched tongues
    Dribbling from chins;
    Leaving the best part,
    The black bullet seeds,
    To be spit out in rapid fire
    Against the wall
    Against the wind
    Against each other;

    And when the ammunition was spent,
    There was always another bite:
    It was a summer of limitless bites,
    Of hungers quickly felt
    And quickly forgotten
    With the next careless gorging.

    The bites are fewer now.
    Each one is savored lingeringly,
    Swallowed reluctantly.

    But in a jar put up by Felicity,
    The summer which maybe never was
    Has been captured and preserved.
    And when we unscrew the lid
    And slice off a piece
    And let it linger on our tongue:
    Unicorns become possible again.

    John Tobias

  2. Dear barefootheart,

    We can’t express enough how much we enjoyed this poem. It invoked perfectly the magic of childhood summers. What a gift! We must explore more of John Tobias’ poetry, for it’s not often that words are put together so skillfully to invoke emotion and remembrance.

    Thank you =)

  3. I do enjoy watermelon pickles, but I never thought to cut up the rind and cook it like a vegetable. Thanks for the suggestion. I also put the rinds out by the birdfeeder because somebody out there likes to peck out the bit of pink that remains.

    That Tobias poem was lovely.

  4. Thanks, Jackie, for another good use — the birds! Wonder who prefers them . . .?
    We were just as surprised to discover that they’re such a great ‘vegetable’. We’ve since used them again in a sort of Minestrone concoction, again to great effect, and are going to be incorporating them into our cooking now on a regular basis.

  5. I love watermelon, it is one of my favorite treats of summer. I almost always eat the light green flesh right to the outer skin, leaving nothing. My husband always teases me about, but I try to tell him that it tastes delicious. I never thought about incorporating it into cooking. I will definitely have to try it.
    I love the Tobias poem also, brings back many childhood memories.

  6. You eat the rind raw! Yipee! Then you’ll surely appreciate it in dishes. We must say, you’re the first person we’ve met who eats the rind raw — perhaps that will be the only problem, is that unlike most people who just throw it away, you’ll have to make a choice — eat it raw, or make it into stir-fry? =)

  7. LOL, my husband says if I get a tummy ache I deserve it. I love the stuff, and so far it hasn’t bothered me. You are right it will a conumdrum….cooked or raw, raw or cooked. Oh dear!

  8. Well, you’ve inspired us to give it a try. Next time we eat watermelon (we have a fresh one from the garden, so that will be tomorrow for breakfast), we’re going to try it raw! =)

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