Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind with Ginger and Lime Recipe

Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind with Ginger and Lime Recipe
Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind

Maryse Chevriere

Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind

With big, fat watermelons currently bursting out of gardens, this classic Southern summertime preserve is a real mouthful that mellows over time, so it's best to pickle in the summer and enjoy in the fall as a snack or garnish. Usually made with cloves, ginger, and allspice, this version adds some kick with little dried red chiles and lime zest.

Click here to see more pickling recipes and tips. 

Click here to see 9 Cool and Creative Ways to Cook with Watermelon.


For the watermelon rind:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4-5 cups cubed watermelon rind (skin and pink meat removed)

For the pickling juice:

  • 5 cups of cold water
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 4 small red dried chilies, like arbol
  • 4 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon dried mace



For the watermelon rind:

In a bowl, stir the salt in with the hot water until the salt dissolves. Add in the lime juice and watermelon rind and put in the fridge to cure overnight. When ready, rinse the watermelon rind and pat dry.

For the pickling juice:

In a non-reactive pot, heat the water and vinegar and stir in the salt and sugar. Simmer on low for about 5 minutes until salt and sugar are dissolved.

Evenly divide the chiles, ginger, cloves, lime zest, and mace into the hot glass jars. Add in the cured watermelon rind (about 1 cup in each jar). Add the hot pickling liquid, leaving about ½-inch of space at the top.

Screw on the tops and then place the jars in a large stock pot full of boiling water (place a rag at the bottom of the pot so that the jars don't rattle). Leave the jars for about 15-20 minutes. Remove carefully with tongs and place on a rack or dishtowel. Listen for the seal to pop after about 20 minutes. Leave the jars out for about 12 hours and then place them in the fridge or cool, dark shelf for up to a few months.

Spicy Pickle Shopping Tip

Look for glass jars with metal lids (preferably Mason jars). They are more easily sanitized than plastic containers.

Spicy Pickle Cooking Tip

When pickling foods, invert the jar for about 5 minutes after sealing it to ensure a tight seal.