Watermelon Pickle Recipe

You gotta be quick. When Levo's melons are ripe, it's a free-for-all, kind of like Filene's Basement. Perhaps it's a secret in the soil. Or, maybe it's just good old-fashioned know-how. Whatever the case, when Levo turns the lights on at his stand, summer is officially over and the pickling season has begun.

Turns out old Levo knew what's what long before the rest of us. Watermelons are one of the world's healthiest foods - higher in cancer-fighting antioxidants than any other fruit. Make this recipe with your kids. It's a fun time and a whole lot sweeter than taking them to McDonalds.

Watermelon Pickle Recipe
*Quantity: Makes 2 1/2 pints
*Prep Time: Takes forever (Hey, it's a labor of love.)

2 pounds watermelon rind
1/4 cup pickling salt
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon broken stick cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Day One:
  • Trim the dark green and pink parts from the watermelon rind.
  • Cut into 1-inch cubes and measure 7 cups.
  • Soak watermelon rind overnight in a mixture of the pickling salt and water.
Day Two:
  • Drain and rinse watermelon rind.
  • Cover rind with cold water in a large saucepan; cook just until tender.
  • Combine sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, whole cloves, and 1 cup water in an 8-quart kettle. Simmer mixture 10 minutes, then strain.
  • Add drained watermelon rind and lemon slices.
  • Simmer until watermelon rind is translucent.
  • Fill half-pint jars with watermelon rind and syrup mixture, leaving 1/2-inch space at the top of the jars. Adjust the lids.
  • Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

* Find Levo's historic watermelon stand along route 37 in South Dakota. By the time I arrived, most of the goodies were gone. Slackers get to explain to the kiddies why they're roasting pumpkin seeds instead of cookin' up pickles.

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