Watermelon Pickles

In "Charleston Receipts" 1950, "P.T.A. Interpretations of Food" 1928, "The American Woman's Cookbook" 1939, Floy's three-ring book of clippings, SOURCES on August 2, 2015 at 10:01 am

Crisp Watermelon Rind Pickle

1 watermelon rind
1 quart vinegar
5 pounds sugar
1 ounce stick cinnamon
1 ounce whole cloves
1 vial Lilly’s lime

Prepare rind by removing all red and green. Cut in squares. Soak overnight in water to which lime has been added. Drain, but do not wash. Cover with water and cook two hours. Drain again and cook slowly for 1 hour in syrup made of remaining ingredients. Syrup should cover rind. Seal in jars while hot. (Lilly’s lime is available at drug stores.)

MRS. FRANCIS C. FORD (Elizabeth Coker)

Sweet Pickled Watermelon

1 watermelon rind
4 cups vinegar
8 pounds sugar
4 tablespoons whole cloves
4 tablespoons cinnamon sticks

Cut skin from watermelon, cut rind into small pieces about 2 inches square. After cutting melon, soak in 1 cup salt and enough water to cover for 12 to 15 hours, then pour off and boil in fresh water. Boil sugar and vinegar 10 minutes. Add spices tied in bag. Simmer until syrupy, about two hours. Add melon and simmer 1 hour. Fill jars and seal.


(Editor’s note: There is no written recipe for watermelon pickles among any of Bee / Momma / Grandma’s things, but it was a recipe that she knew from the Low Country, and there are several recipes for it in cookbooks that  both she and her mother-in-law, Marion Reynolds King, owned. 

The recipes typed out above are from “Charleston Receipts,” a cookbook put out by the Junior League of Charleston in 1950. They offer two versions; the first uses lime as a pickling agent, and the second uses salt. The second also uses considerably more sugar. 

Other recipes included below include one from “P.T.A. Interpretations of Food,” a cookbook owned by Marion Reynolds King that was published in 1928 and passed along to us (held together with plenty of duct tape) by Sonny King; it includes a version that takes three whole days.

Also below is a recipe from Bee / Momma / Grandma’s most well-worn cookbook (the cookbook with no cover so we don’t know its name). It adds this tip: “Cantaloupe rind, pumpkin or winter squash may be cut into pieces and pickled in the same way. Or slice green tomatoes and use salt instead of brine.”

Note that all of these recipes assume that the reader understands the traditional Ball- or Mason-jar canning process; if you don’t, the Ball Jar webpage and the National Center for Home Preservation are both really helpful. Also see the watermelon pickle recipes collected by Floy Garris, since they include the use of alum.)


recipe watermelon pickles charleston receipts

receipe watermelon pickles charleston receipts 2

marion king cookbook cover 3

recipe pickled watermelon pta

recipe pickled watermelon rind american woman


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