Once the weather warms up, the Ankle Biters consume vast quantities of watermelon. Both in chunks and whizzed up in the thermomix and frozen as icy poles. They can’t get enough of the stuff.


photo by kurisurokku, some rights reserved

Growing up I read and reread the ‘Little House’ books and ‘Farmer Boy’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In fact I still reread them every year or so. As a little girl I didn’t want to be a princess or a fairy or a bride. I wanted to be Laura Ingall’s. Some say I still do.

Full disclosure. I also wanted to be Little Lord Fauntleroy on occasion and I fully acknowledge the weirdness of that. I was kind of a weird child who spent freakish amounts of time up a tree with her head in a book. Once again, some would say that still applies.

Back to the watermelon. In ‘Farmer Boy’, Almanzo is scolded by his elder sister Eliza for feeding watermelon rind to his pig Lucy. Eliza wants to make watermelon rind pickles. This fascinated me for more than 20 years. What on earth are watermelon rind pickles? Last summer I wet on a mission of discovery. I found recipes lurking on the net and gave it a try. I decided it was worthy of repetition, particularly as it reduces waste. Which I am no friend of.

Watermelon rind pickles
adapted from homecooking.com

To prepare rind, remove green outer skin and all pink flesh. Cut remaining white into pieces no bigger than 1cm x 1cm. I used roughly 1/4 watermelon to make this batch, it produced two smallish jars of pickles.
2 1/2 cups prepared watermelon rind
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar (I know I hate using sugar but my last preserves didn’t work amazingly with rapadura and I didn’t have time to work out how to get round this)
1 cinnamon stick, broken
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1cm piece of ginger
1 cardamon pod
1 tablespoon salt

  1. Place rind in a saucepan with salt and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer until tender. Drain and chill rind in the freezer for 20 – 30 minutes.
  2. Place vinegar and sugar in a small – medium saucepan. Place spices in a large tea infuser (or cheesecloth) and add to saucepan. Bring to boil and boil 5 minutes.
  3. Add watermelon rind to syrup. Simmer until rind becomes translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard spices.
  4. Pack rind and syrup into hot sterilized  jars, leaving 1cm head space. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath 20 minutes.