The early Greek settlers in Charleston brought with them a tradition of pickling melon rinds. I have adapted this recipe from several Lowcountry sources, reducing the sugar content called for in Charleston Receipts and removing the spices before bottling so that the preserves do not turn a dark brown. Note that it takes two days to make these pickles.

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Ingredients

For the Watermelon Rind

  • rind of 1 large watermelon
  • 2 cups pickling lime
  • 2 gallons water

For the Pickling Solution

  • 1 ounce stick cinnamon
  • 1 ounce whole cloves
  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • 4 pounds sugar

Method

Pare all of the green and all of the red from the melon rind, then cut into 1-inch squares. This is quite a job, so invite a friend over to help you and split the pickles. Put them in a nonreactive container with enough lime water to cover, using the proportions above ( 1 cup lime per gallon of water). Allow to soak overnight.

Drain the lime water off the rind squares, but don’t rinse them. Cover with water and cook in a preserving kettle over medium heat for 2 hours. Drain again.

Tie the spices in a piece of cheesecloth and add to the vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil in the preserving kettle, then add the rind and cook over low heat for an hour. Remove the spices. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

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