Lacto Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

When we were at the Co-op last week, I picked up an organic watermelon. It was a bit pricey compared to most foods we purchase, but it was so delicious. Since I am very curious about watermelon rind pickles, this was the melon to try them with. While some might not see watermelon rind as wasted, I find it interesting that in past times, Watermelon Rind Pickles were a staple in most kitchens. That jump-started the frugal in me, plus I am a true pickle fan.

I did not know that you can make sour watermelon rind pickles. I had always come upon recipes for a sweet watermelon rind pickle until I found this one from The Zero Waste Chef. I ran into a few difficulties I did not anticipate, but learned a lot along the way, and took a few photos so I could share what I learned. The biggest surprise is that watermelon rind is very buoyant.

We used half of the watermelon rind for this batch of pickles. From the fruit, I had made a lovely Watermelon Feta and Mint compote. The other half we took to share with family, during a recent visit or I would have used that portion of the rind as well. I would think a full melon rind would easily make two batches of pickles, maybe a sweet batch and a sour batch.....

Lacto-Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles
adapted from Zero Waste Chef
makes approximately 1/2 gallon

1-gallon water, chlorine-free
1 T sea salt
2 T whey (this will jump-start the Lacto fermentation)
1 watermelon rind, clean with most of the red fruit scraped away, plus the outer hard shell peel, removed


Place the rind pieces in a large jar, crock or bowl. Dissolve the salt in the water, add in the whey. Pour over the rind pieces and cover by 1 inch. (this was easier said than done....)

Once I noticed the rind pieces floating above the brine (not where you want them, trust me) I came up with the idea of using small plates (they are teabag holders) sat on the rind pieces in an overlapping pattern and held in place to stabilize. I had used a wine glass filled with dry beans for the Cauliflower recipe and thought I should use that again. I covered everything with a towel and went to bed.

Lacto Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles
Lacto Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles

This morning I noticed that the small plates were on the bottom of the jar, the watermelon rind is so buoyant that they, in fact, floated above the weight of the plates, and the plates slowly sank to the bottom of the jar.

The watermelon rind and the brine were transferred to a large glass bowl and a saucer was placed upside down over the top, a bit of pressure applied to work the brine up and over the pieces of the watermelon rind. You want the food being processed to be covered by no more than 1 inch of brine. I covered everything and went to work.

This evening after work, I noticed that the brine level was about to overflow the bowl. I removed some of the brine (saved in the measuring cup, just in case...) to a more acceptable level. Covered everything again, and now we wait.................

The Zero Waste Chef indicates that you wait a few days, but should begin tasting after 3 days ferment time, once your pickles are as sour as you prefer, refrigerate. Lacto-Fermented foods do not spoil and rarely last as long as you like, which is easy to solve, simply make more.


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  1. I have never heard of watermelon rind pickles before. I kept wondering when you add the cucumbers, ha! I am very curious about this. I think I'm going to try it the next time we have a watermelon. Thanks!

  2. Love the story of how you finally got the rinds to stay in the brine! I've heard of watermelon rind pickles but have never eaten them.

  3. This is a new idea to me - fascinating!


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