Kwang Uh, co-owner of Baroo in L.A., does just that. He utilizes the lesser part of the adored fruit but also juices some of the flesh and uses it as part of the pickling liquid. The red juice gives the pickles a light-pink color and a light sweetness to reassure the watermelon flavor in such a neutral tasting part of the fruit.
We won't lie: The recipe takes a bit of time and some handy knife skills but not any more than the average pickling session would. We suggest slicing the watermelon into eighths, or even smaller pieces if it's easier for you. Make sure that you are working with appropriately sized pieces that make filleting more manageable.
To learn more, read “Baroo Awakening.”
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Recipe adapted from Kwang Uh, Baroo, Los Angeles, CA
Yield: 8 cups
Prep Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, plus pickling time
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes, plus pickling time
One 10-to-12-pound watermelon
2 tablespoons kosher salt
½ cup lime juice
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1. Break down the watermelon by slicing it into 8 equal, and more manageable, pieces. Carve out the red and pink flesh from each slice. Using a juicer, juice enough flesh to produce 3 cups of watermelon juice. Reserve the watermelon juice for the pickling liquid; the remaining flesh can be eaten or saved for other uses.
2. Carefully fillet the white rind off the green skin, discarding the skin. The rind should be only ⅛ inch thick and have no green color remaining. Cut the rind into ½-by-2-inch rectangles.
3. In a large bowl, add the watermelon rind pieces and toss in the salt. Let sit until they have softened slightly and seasoned, 2 hours. Rinse the salted rind pieces with cold water, then drain and return to the bowl.
4. In a medium stock pot, add the reserved watermelon juice with the lime juice, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, cinnamon stick and kaffir lime leaf. Bring the pickling liquid to a boil and pour over the rind pieces. Allow to completely cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat, at least 48 hours.