Water bath canning watermelon pickles is easy, even if you are canning for the first time. Here’s a beginner-friendly canning recipe to try!
- 16 cups fresh watermelon rind cut into 1-inch pieces
- 16 cups water
- 1 cup canning salt
- 3 cinnamon sticks, 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1 lemon, deseeded and thinly sliced
- 12 maraschino cherries, halved
- Pick fresh watermelons with hard rinds and no broken skins or dark spots.
- Wash the melons under cool running water and scrub them with a vegetable brush to remove soil and debris.
- Cut the melons and scoop out the flesh to make canned watermelon jelly. Use a sharp, freshly cleaned knife to peel the outer green skin from the rind and trim the pink or red flesh. Cut the trimmed rind into 1-inch square cubes or long spears, depending on your preference.
- Make a brine with canning salt and water in a large pot. Stir until the salt dissolves. Add the watermelon rind pieces and cover the pot with a lid or plastic wrap. Let them sit for 12 hours to pickle. For faster results, add ice cubes after adding the rind and let sit for 3-4 hours.
- After the pickling time lapses, drain the rinds and rinse them in cold water.
- Combine 16 cups water and the drained, pickled watermelon rind in a large stock pot. Heat the contents to a boil. Adjust the heat to a medium-low simmer and cook the rind for 45-60 minutes until fork-tender. Drain and keep aside.
- As the rind cooks in the syrup, prepare your canning supplies. Wash six pint-sized jars and their canning lids and screw bands. Wash these in warm water with soap before rinsing them with warm water.
- Put the clean canning jars in a large pot, add fresh water, and heat them to a simmer. Let the jars remain hot until filled.
- Place a canning rack into your hot water bath canner and fill it halfway with fresh water. Heat the canner on medium-high heat and maintain it at a temperature of 180°F.
- Put half the cloves, allspice, and half the cinnamon sticks in a spice bag or cheesecloth. Combine the lemon slices, spice bag, white sugar, maraschino cherries, and vinegar in a large stock pot. Stir to dissolve all the sugar.
- Add the pickled watermelon to the stock pot and bring the contents to a boil. Adjust the heat to a medium-low simmer and cook for 5-10 until the rind turns transparent. Remove the spice bag.
- Put one cinnamon stick and one whole clove in each dried, hot canning jar.
- Ladle the hot acidified pickled watermelon rind and cooking liquid into the hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Use a thin wooden stir stick inside the jars to remove air bubbles.
- Wipe the jar rims with moist paper towels. Top the jars with new lids and fasten the rings to fingertip tightness.
- Use a jar lifter to lower the jars into the canner without turning or tilting them. The tops of the jars should be 1-2 inches under the water.
- Raise the heat to high and heat the canner to a rolling boil. Place a lid on the canner and process the jars for 10-20 minutes, adjusting for elevation:
Water Bath Processing for Watermelon Rind Pickles
- 0 – 1,000ft: 10 minutes
- 1,001 – 6,000ft: 15 minutes
- Above 6,001ft: 20 minutes
- Take the canner off the heat, open the lid, and let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes before removing the jars individually with canning tongs.
- Place the jars unturned and untilted on warm towels laid on a flat countertop. Let the jars cool undisturbed without re-tightening the lids for 12-24 hours.
- Take the ring bands off and check the seals for indentation and flexing. Save any jars with flexing lids in the refrigerator and consume the pickles within one month.
- Wash the exterior of all sealed jars and wipe them dry for labeling and storage in a cool, dry place.
- Prep Time: 12 hours, 15 minutes
- Canning Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Serving Size: 1/4 pint
- Calories: 136kcal
- Sugar: 25g
- Sodium: 4624mg
- Fat: 1g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 34g
- Protein: 1g