Many of you know that my family and I are new to The South. And being foodies, we are enjoying what American Food is like 2000 miles away from our SoCal home. Watermelon pickles are one of the strange, Southern foods that has turned out to be a favorite of ours, especially when served alongside meaty burgers and steaks. If you are familiar with making pickles, the recipe will be just another simple pickle recipe. If canning is new to you, then you will need more help than I can offer here and a canning site like The Canning Granny will help you along that road.
Southern Style Watermelon Pickles
Cutting and Brining (Day One)
Peel the rind of a large watermelon, and cut away the inside until just a thin layer of pink is visible. Cut the rind into relish size pieces or spears, whichever you prefer and brine this for 24 hours. Brine= 1 Gallon of water and 3/4 Cup pickling salt. While your watermelon is in your big pot or bowl for brining, you may have to put a plate on the rind to hold it underneath the salt water.
The Next Day (Day Two)
6 Cups sugar
4 Cups white vinegar
2 Cups brown sugar
4 lemons (more if you like, they are delicious and add another layer of wonderful flavor)
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 Tablespoon whole allspice
4 to 6 sticks cinnamon, broken into halves
1 teaspoon mustard seed (the mustard seed gives it the “pickle” flavor. For a milder flavor use less, for a stronger flavor use more but remember, this is a sweet pickle recipe)
Combine all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. While the syrup is simmering, drain the cubes and rinse them, twice. Put them back into a rinsed bowl and poor the syrup over them, cover tightly and let this sit for 24 hours.
The Next, Next Day (Day Three)
This is canning day. You will need 5 to 7 pint jars, sterilize them according to manufacturer’s instructions. Bring the syrup with the watermelon to a boil and fill the jars leaving 1/2 inch of space to the top of jar and seal. Make sure you distribute some of the lemon into every jar. The jars need 10 minutes in a water bath. These pickles need at least one week to process before eating but we have noticed that the longer they go, the better they are but they’ve never lasted us more than two months in our house!
Please take the time to read about canning before you attempt this recipe.