Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles

Don't waste those watermelon rinds! You can ferment them and turn them into pickled rinds. They are delicious as a refreshing summer afternoon snack.
Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles | Real Food RN

So I have this issue with throwing away food. I always want to find a way to use up my scraps, either in another recipe or in my compost bin. This summer my husband and kids decided to go on a watermelon binge and I had rinds coming out of my ears. I had heard of watermelon rind pickles, but never actually tasted one. Fermenting foods is one of my favorite “cooking” methods, so I decided to give these a go.

When looking around online I came across a spiced recipe, I changed it up a bit here. I also wanted to make a traditional pickle flavor, in case my kids didn’t like the clove flavor. They are both delicious!

Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles | Real Food RN
Yield: Makes 2 half-gallon jars

Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles

Don't waste those watermelon rinds! You can ferment them and turn them into pickled rinds. They are delicious as a refreshing summer afternoon snack.


  • Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles Ingredients for basic brine:
  • 1 medium organic watermelon
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp sea salt
  • For the dill pickle rinds, add the following to the jars:
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 large dill sprig or 1 tsp dried dill
  • For the sweet and spicy rinds, add the following to the jars:
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp whole cloves


    1. Slice watermelon, removing the pink flesh to eat. I place a cutting board inside of a cookie sheet so the juice does not run all over.
    2. Trim green outer layer off of the rind and discard.
    3. Chop peeled rind into 1″ pieces, making them as evenly shaped as possible.

    4. Place the chopped rind into a clean half-gallon glass jar.
    5. I filled two half-gallon glass jars with the rind from one medium watermelon.
    6. Heat the water until boiling.
    7. Add in salt and stir until dissolved (note, my water looks “dirty” in this pic because I use real salt and it has minerals and other goodies in it that look a little different than the traditional white table salt).
    8. Add in your flavorings of choice to the jar.

    9. Pour brine over watermelon rind in jars, until the neck of the jar (do not overfill). I use a funnel to do this.

    10. Place your airlock lid onto the jars, because the airlock system is seriously the easiest way to go!
    11. Cover the jars with a dark towel and place in a moderate temperature area, the warmer it is the faster they ferment. Keep it covered so the fermentation is not affected by sunlight.
    12. Allow to ferment 3-5 days, you can taste them after three to see if you like the flavor. The longer they ferment, the sourer they will taste.
    13. Place a plastic lid on the jar (metal will rust) and put the pickles in the fridge. They will last quite a while in the fridge, we have not had a batch go bad yet!
      Watermelon Rind Pickles

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Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles | Real Food RN
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15 Replies to “Fermented Watermelon Rind Pickles”

  1. I’m a pickle/fermentation novice, and have never eaten pickles (except sweet relish in tuna salad), because I don’t really like strong vinegar flavors.
    I thought pickling always happened with vinegar but I see none in these recipes. So do they really taste like pickles, or are they their own thing entirely? Interested, but would like a better idea what to expect they taste like, if you could offer any more insight. 🙂
    They sound really cool though!

    1. Traditional pickling was done with fermentation, which cours naturally. Vinegar is added to the pickles that have not fermented. You can do it either way, but fermenting is a healthier option. They do taste sour like pickles 🙂

  2. In the recipe above you say to heat the water to boiling, then add salt. Then pour into the jars. Do you not have to cool the water before pouring into the pickles?

    Also if the green rind is peeled off and the rind pieces placed directly into the jar without any additional fermenting starter where are the microbes going to come from?
    Especially given that if there did happen to be any living thing left on them it has been killed off by pouring boiling brine over them.

    1. Nope you don’t have to cool the brine, but you certainly can let it cool a bit so you don’t burn yourself working with hot brine. There are always microbes that are going to get in there to ferment. It is pretty much impossible to sterilize it.

  3. I would like to know if you can process the pickles after they ferment as much as you like ,as you would kraut so you can store them for wintertime. I do not have enough refrigerator space to spare . also my son would eat them up without leaving me any.

  4. That is what I had in mind. I figure if you can water bath can them & be able to eat on them all year long or as long as they last. if you have a bumper crop of watermelons it would be a shame to let the rinds go to waste. I like the pickles that I made this year to see how I liked them. I will make them again. I tried some refrigerator pickles this year . I made 1 large jar & had some of the brine left over so I cut up a pint jar of jalapeno peppers & poured the brine over them . we liked both , the cucumbers & peppers .

  5. I know this is an old post. But watermelon is on the Clean list. Do you think it’s okay to use a non organic one? My budget is limited and I don’t like to waste

  6. I have only made sauerkraut. The tools I have are a fermentation crock, weights and a cheese cloth. How would you adapt this system to make the watermelon rind pickles?

    I make the kraut by first putting; the cabbage in the crock, then adding the brine, placing cabbage leaves over mixture, placing weights on top of leaves and then covering the crock with a cheesecloth.

    Thanks for your help

    1. you could do it the same method I would assume, it just needs to be anaerobic — meaning they need to be submerged under the liquid

  7. I made these (the sweet ones with clove and cinnamon) They are very salty and do not taste good to me at all. What should they taste like?

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