Bubba's Pickled Watermelon Rind

Whatever you do, don’t discard your watermelon rind this summer!

It may sound a little strange to make pickles out of watermelon rind but, it really might surprise you how delicious they are.  

My mother used to make these every summer and recalling them, Bubba gave it a try and is now carrying on the tradition ~ lucky for me!  I love about anything pickled and these watermelon pickles are fantastic!

Here are some fun watermelon facts:

  • The largest watermelon on record was raised in 2005 by the Bright family in Hope, Arkansas, weighing in at 268.8 pounds.

  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

  • In Luling, Texas, 1989, the Guinness World Record for watermelon seed spitting was set at 68 feet, 9 and 1/8 inches by Lee Wheelis.  The record still stands.

  • The first cookbook published in 1796 in America contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.

  • A watermelon was once thrown at Roman Governor Demosthenes during a political debate.  Placing the watermelon on his head, he thanked the thrower for providing him with a helmet to wear as he fought Philip of Macedonia. 
Watermelon pickles are a tangy, sweet complement to grilled burgers, barbecued meat, hot dogs, chicken and seafood.  A 6 pound watermelon yields about two pounds of rind.  The pickles are very sweet and contain a great mix of spices, they even smell divine.  It may seem complicated to make them but, it’s not.  It takes a couple of days to make them and then they’re ready to relish. 

So with summer around the corner, remember not to pitch your watermelon rind.  Now, if I could only convince Bubba to try pickled eggs!

Bubba’s Watermelon Pickles


1 watermelon
3 quarts water for brine, plus more
3/4 cup salt
5 cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks (break to 1")
1 tablespoon allspice
1 lemon, sliced


Remove the rind from the watermelon, removing as much of the pink meat as possible and all of the green outer skin.
Cut the rind into small bite-sized pieces.
Make a brine of 3qts water and 3/4 cup salt.
Put the rind in a bowl, cover with the brine, and refrigerate at least 6 hrs

Drain and rinse the rind.  Put the rind in a pot, cover it with water, and boil it about 15 minutes until tender.  Drain and remove the rind.

Mix the rest of the ingredients with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  Pour over the watermelon.  Refrigerate overnight.

Bring the watermelon and syrup to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium-high and cook for 1 hr, stirring periodically.


To can them, put them straight from the pot into canning jars, leaving about a half inch open at the top.  Clean the jars off, put the lids on, and put in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Remove from pot.

Let the jars set at room temperature for 24 hours.  They do not need to be refrigerated unless you desire them chilled before serving.

Is it pickles or is it candy?  You’ll have to try it and decide for yourself as I don’t think you’ll find it in the stores.  

Way to go, Bubba!  They’re delicious!


  1. Pickled watermelon rind sounds very unique, I would love to try it!

  2. I have heard of these but have never tried them! They sound delicious! Thanks!

  3. I have never heard of this. Is it a regional thing?

  4. Watermelon Pickles have been around at least 70 plus years as my mother use to make these. And I am 82 years old this July.
    I love them and more people should try them.

  5. 5 Star Foodie, they are very spicy and delicious. Thanks!

    Debbi, they are a great thing you'll have to try!

    M @ Betty Crapper, my mother made them when we lived on the farm in Ohio, and for that matter, my grandmother made them also. I believe they are a Southern delicacy though.

    Dodie, thanks! I transposed the numbers ~ they were in the first cookbook in 1796, not 1976. So they've been around well over 200 years. I agree, they are delicious and more people should try them! Thanks for the comment!

  6. Hi Pam,
    It seems delicious and the colour is amazing. I bet that this is a real and unique treat!

  7. I have been meaning to try pickled watermelon rinds. I'm looking forward to seeing how this recipe turns out.

  8. When you say mix in the rest of the ingredients, I presume this does not mean the pink flesh you have removed from the rind? That is far too good to eat to put in a pickle. I will try this recipe as I grow watermelons in my garden.Diane

  9. darn it...only if i read this post yesterday... :)

  10. Salsa Verde, thanks! It definitely has a unique taste, very spicy and the color is great. It's amazing what those spices can do!

    Fresh Local and Best, great! I hope you try it. They're very sweet and one great pickle!

  11. Food, Fun and Life in the Charente, remove all the pink and eat it! There should be no pink in this recipe at all. This recipe is using only the rind. Lucky you with watermelons in your garden!!! I hope you try this, very unique and delicious!

  12. What a blast from the past! When I was a child, the women of my family used to make this and I regretfully never tried it. Now that I'm "mature" and love these types of heirloom recipes, I may just have to give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. mr. pineapple man, I know what you mean, as that happens to me so often. Thanks!

    Karen Harris, it's one of those oldies but goodies and I hope you try it! Thanks for stopping by!

  14. I love watermelon pickles. As a girl, they were the first pickle I learned to make.

  15. Oh my god, this is very interesting and impressive! I'd love to try watermelon rind pickles!

  16. Pam, thanks for passing from my blog and it's a pleasure meeting you. I thought that only we Greeks make use of the water melon rind but I am glad to learn another way to use it. You might want to check it out:

  17. Mimi, they are the best and what an accomplishment for your first venture with pickles. Bet you were very proud of them!

    Kenny T, I'm glad you're impressed and hope you try them. They are sooo delicious!

    Ivy, I'm glad you have been introduced to a new way for the rinds! I hope you try this! I will be checking out how Greeks utilize the rind now! Thanks for stopping by; it is nice meeting you also!

  18. Sounds very interesting. I have never had the opportunity to try these yet!

  19. Lyndsey, they taste so great and I hope you get a chance to try them as they are unlike any other pickle and so good!

  20. Watermelon rind? Oh, this is new to me. It reduce the rubbish too, hehe...

  21. I have been waiting for a recipe for watermelon rind!

  22. I've heard of them never tried them-would be interesting though!:)

  23. I've never heard of this before but it does sound fun to try! Thanks for the recipe!

    Thanks for visiting our blog too!

  24. I have never heard of anything like this, but I want to try it soon! It sounds very good!

  25. My mom had us eat loads of watermelon so that she could pickle it for my dad. We' loved eating all the watermelon, but as a kid I did't eat much of the pickled rind. Brings back lots of childhood memories :)

  26. Nice idea Pam, I have to try!!

  27. Little Inbox, LOL! It does that for sure!

    tasteofbeirut, good! I'm glad you stopped by and saw it!

    Holly, they are a wonderful thing! Thanks!

    BeadedTail, it is a fun thing to make that's delicious! Thanks for the visit!

    Autumn @Good Eats Girl, I'm glad it's something new for you to try and hope you do!

    Diane, great! Kind of funny, I'm not a big watermelon fan and Mom bought lots of it for this reason also. I love, love the pickles though and the memories too!

    Zia Elle, it's unique and I hope you give it a go!

  28. I made these once several years ago. It was fun and they are delicious!

  29. Karen, they are a sweet thing for sure! Have a good day!

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  31. Vincent, thanks so much. I appreciate it!

  32. I am getting ready to try your recipe. I have one question - do you include / Ethe lemons when you put up the rinds or throw away? Enjoyed the music also thanks Mary Beth


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