Ferment This: Lacto-Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles

What’s more cooling and refreshing on a wickedly hot day than the sweet goodness of ice cold watermelon? (check out the health benefits here) And there are plenty of tasty treats that can be made from the watermelon – including the rinds!

Watermelon rind pickles would be good in their own right, but lacto-fermenting them takes it up a notch! Basically, we’ll be submerging them in brine and letting helpful lactic acid bacteria transform the rinds into sour (and sweet) probiotic pickles.

Once the flesh has been removed from the rinds (and thoroughly taste-tested), the outermost rind is cut off, leaving the softer whitish part. If there’s a lot of pink still attached to the rind, that should be removed, too.

The prepared rind is cut into thin cubes, stuffed into clean jars, and spices (and sweetener, if desired) are added.

Brine is poured over it, and the jar is securely closed. I’ll burp it daily to allow building gases to escape.

We made two jars of dill and two “sweet and spicy” from this recipe. I’d used a different recipe in a previous attempt, only to find that instead of pickles, the jars contained slimy rind pieces…eww! I suspect that using the “light brine” in that recipe resulted in improper fermentation, so the new recipe’s saltier brine (twice the ratio of salt to water) has me hopeful I’ll end up with something edible after about 5 days. Update to come!

Find out how fun and rewarding it is to turn a food “waste” product like watermelon rinds into something enjoyable – it’s good for you and the planet!