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Pickle Your Own Watermelon Rind

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Don't discard the rind after eating watermelon.

“Between the dark green skin of a watermelon and its pinky flesh lies an often discarded, pale green rind that’s full of possibilities,” writes John Besh in “My New Orleans: The Cookbook.” “Seasoned by aromatic spices in a quick boil, these pickles can be served the same way as other pickles, but they are especially fine with … pork recipes.”

And some juicy watermelons are still available as we head into fall. So, don’t throw out the rind. Try this recipe from Besh, whose L√ľke restaurant is opening in San Antonio in October.

Watermelon Pickles

1 whole medium watermelon
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
2 star anise
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut the watermelon into manageable pieces. With a vegetable peeler, peel away the outer skin, trim away the pink flesh and save for granita or sorbet, and cut the white rind into 1-inch pieces.

Put 2 cups water, the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, star anise, fennel seed, peppercorns, and salt into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the watermelon rinds and gently boil until the rinds become tender, about 10 minutes, then remove the saucepan from the heat.

Let the watermelon rinds and syrup cool to room temperature in the pot. Pack then into a sterilized jar or two and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Makes 1 quart.

From “My New Orleans: The Cookbook” by John Besh

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