Watermelon pickles are something I’ve wanted to make for a long time. I’ve heard people talk about them, and I always figured there had to be something I could do with the rinds leftover from my watermelons. Watermelon pickles are just like regular ole cucumber pickles. They’re good and crunchy. This particular recipe makes watermelon pickles that are sweet at the start and spicy at the end. You could eat them right out of the jar or even put them on hot dogs or hamburgers for something totally different. I’m contemplating chopping a few of these watermelon pickles and making a relish. I think it’d come out delicious. The flavor balance is perfect, not overly sweet or spicy. The pickling spice is strong, which I like, but if you’re not such a fan of the cloves in it you might want to use slightly less or remove some of them before adding to the brine.
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
4 cups of watermelon rind, peeled, chopped into 1/2"-3/4" cubes
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1-2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons pickling spice
Red pepper flake, to taste (optional)
Blanch the watermelon rind by bringing 4 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil in a pot over high heat. Stir until the salt dissolves.
Add the watermelon rind. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue simmering until just starting to turn tender (you want them to still be a bit crispy), about 5 minutes.
Skim off any fat and drain. Transfer to a large bowl.
Make the brine by bringing the remaining 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon salt, vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, and red pepper (if using) to a boil in saucepan. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Pour the brine over the watermelon rind.
Cover with a plate to keep the rind submerged and let cool to room temperature.
Transfer to glass jars, cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
The pickles will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Combine and store: Pour the hot brine over the rind. Use a small plate or a Ziplock bag partially filled with water (I use the Ziplock bag) to hold the rind under the brine. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer the rind and brine into clean glass jars (I use Mason jars), cover and chill before serving. Keep refrigerated - they'll keep several months.
Want to surprise everyone at your next picnic or get-together? Bring a jar of grilled pickles. Everyone will want to know how you did it. You don’t have to admit how easy it is. The pickles do get a little char flavor, but not much. They still taste like, well, dill pickles, but with just slightly less crunch. The grilled red onions do add a nice light onion flavor. These jarred grilled pickles are good for 5 days. And don’t feel like you have to grill only spears. Sliced pickles or even whole pickles can be grilled just as well. If you don’t want to grill the pickles but still want a hint of grilled flavor, just grill some red onion and then add that to a jar of pickles and refrigerate overnight.
Ever since I made a crazy good batch of Nashville Hot Chicken I’ve been jonesin’ for that same great hot crunchy experience on other foods. Like fried pickles. Making these Nashville Hot Pickles was easy, and boy are they packed with a nice kick! I didn’t go the mild route with these, that’s for sure. And to make sure I kept the burn going I served the pickles with a habanero ranch sauce for dipping.
You’re going to see other great dishes like this one for Nashville Hot Pickles here on Life’s A Tomato. I love that great crunchy breading and that fiery hot seasoning. Next up? I’m thinking chicken fingers!